Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
December 8, 2016
This isn't so much a health blog for the day, but a life blog. Every now and then I have to do this, just to prove to myself that I still have a pulse and that life is still not some meandering tide of nothingness. Some days, you just need to reflect on the good times and the bad times, and you have to be ready for some of the major changes in your life as they come into view. I haven’t been very good this week, for my evenings have been chalked full of issues that have cut into my workout time and even my running time. If anything, this is a lost week for me, and unfortunately the blogs will probably reflect such a tendency. I mean, what is there to write about if you have nothing to really show for this past week?
To start things off with, I finally got myself a new car. Well, not new per se, but a 2001 Lexus ES300…which is a massive upgrade from the 1993 Mercury Tracer that I have sitting in my yard right now, ready to seek out another owner if you can believe it. That is right, someone actually wants to buy. I kind of casually blurted out on the last day of my training last week (Saturday) that I was looking to sell the car and little did I realize, someone actually took me up on the offer. I should be angry with myself, for I could have gotten some good money out of the car but instead I might just get a mere 100 out of it, provided he even wants to pay for the car (which I said he didn’t have to if he didn’t want to). You might call me a fool for thinking about this, but there is a pretty good story behind that old car, which in the reality of me removing it from my life leaves an indelible moment i the book that is my life. I was in a pretty bad way about nearly seven years ago. My old Honda Accord went down on me, forever going into the scrap heap in the sky. The economy was still destroyed thanks to some horrible policies from a terrible presidency, and I really had no money to spare. Heck, the scrap money I got for the car did more to feed my belly than anything to help me out. So I was riding my father’s large GMC and tugging it around town. I knew he was getting pretty upset with me even though I was putting the truck to use rather than letting in sit in his back yard for long periods of time. But one day I got pretty lucky, when some friends of my parents named Manuel and Karen Guaman decided to “give” me their old Mercury Tracer. It was a pretty respectable car at that time, for despite the lack of aesthetic it still looked pretty good. I insisted on giving them at least 100 bucks for the ride, for I felt a bit embarrassed and humiliated that I had to accept some charity in my life. I was supposed to be a “man” so to speak, and taking such a thing would not reflect well on my ego. But I needed a car, and even though it was’t flashy and didn’t exactly get me any dates (yes, I actually picked up a couple women in the car…they were not impressed), it was all I had.
For the first few years I had the car, it was exceptional. It only needed some minor changes like a new key cylinder and some new tires. It passed emissions like a champ every year and I was getting okay gas mileage out of it. It did not have much for range after 2014 when the poor thing started falling apart. First it was the starter. Then the rotors and calipers. Then the axel busted on it, taking out the driver side shocks and turning that side of the car into a rattling mess. I remember the fear I had when a friend from Denver was dropping by and visiting, for I literally feared the car would fall apart on me while driving her around Tucson. During the course of 2014 I spent two months without a car, and this was also a time where all my work problems and the two years of underemployment started. 2015 didn’t provide any better relief, for the alternator and the water pump went out. And then this past year the timing belt broke and took out the water pump. The relays for the engine also had to be replaced this year and most recently the head gasket. The tires are in some desperate need and the brakes and once again starting to stick a bit. It is pretty much at the end of its life, at least in my respect. I got tired of putting money into it, especially when it did not start last week and I had to get the car to my mechanic. I dropped 55 dollars on the tow and then my mechanic simply turned the key and it turned on…when it was not starting the previous day. I would have to say that was a last straw for me. I knew this would be my life, and I knew this car would continue to set me back on my quest to get a new one.
Fortunately, I got lucky this past week. Turns out Jon and Christa’s father in law Bruce was looking to unload his old car. Despite the tires being a little old and a slight electrical problem that is most likely a bad alternator, I decided to take the chance and get the car. Jon said he would loan me the money as long as I paid him back, and I decided to take him up on the offer. While there was bit of trepidation in the transaction, it sure felt familiar to me. It was like the day I first walked into Parsons Training a few years back, wondering what the hell I was getting myself into and seeing all of these happy, smiling people around. I felt like I was in some damn 80’s exercise video and i was the frumpy loser that had no business being there. But much like my life, I predict a lot of things will change for me. While this month will be a little tough as I reel from a car down payment and the new tires I want to get right away, it will ultimately lead to some better life moments. I feel comfortable enough to go to Sabino Canyon again and try and start running up that hilltop. I can actually go off to Phoenix if I so choose, maybe even taking little road trips here and there. There is a great parallel to this of course. When I started working out and making the necessary changes to lead a better and healthier life, I saw the benefits of being healthier and eating better. In a lot of ways, getting this new car is like doing better with my health and fitness, and the mobility it will allow for me will certainly even out the 20 dollars I have to pay extra in insurance per month and the additional registration I have for the car. But I am already reaping the benefits of a better and healthier car, and it makes me realize something else. If I had take the path of my current life and never stopped, I would be just like my Mercury Tracer.
I look at it this way. My car was 20 years old before it started having any real issues with it. The first problem was just the key cylinder needed to be replaced and the chair bracket busting. Nothing huge. For me, it would have been similar to me having to take proton pump inhibitors to start battling my gastroesophageal problems that were cropping up. If anything, I should have taken the hint and start preparing for another car, for once the issues start to crop up for yourself, they usually start coming in the form of a tidal wave. And boy they sure did for that car. It makes me wonder what would have been in store in terms of my body, maybe I would have suffered an actual heart attack? I mean, I was certainly huge enough and had some issues with eating tons of horrible food. Maybe I could have had a couple of heart problems by the time I was 40…who knows. Of course, I might have been on my way to a bout with diabetes for I was certainly always giddy and such, crashing and eating and crashing again. Since I never really went to the doctor or such, I never really knew how far along I was in the diabetes process. I’m pretty sure I might have been pre-diabetic considering how huge of a shock my body went into when I started eating better and cut out dairy initially. Who knows. I never really knew. All I know is the moment I started eating better, all of my gastroesophageal issues went away. My energy started going up and I actually started sleeping a little better. If I had kept going on my path, who knows what kind of money I would have to be putting into my body to stay alive in the form of pills and procedures and doctor’s visits. In terms of my car, I would have to pay nearly 30 dollars a month in oil, various fluids and antifreeze in addition to the fact my car’s gas mileage started slipping to the point where I had to fill my gas up every week. The costs were just adding up. And you know what would eventually happen to the old car of mine…it was gonna die a horrible and painful death anyway. Who knows when it would happen, for I knew it was gonna go someday, and that was why I was stressed out and worried every day I took that thing out for a drive. Who knows what would happen? The tranny could finally blow. Some pistons could depressurize. Water might get into the intake. The electrical system might fry. That sort of uncertainty could really make a person paranoid, and I can’t imagine living my life like that in terms of my health. Walking around, wondering if my pills will stay affordable (which they probably won’t) and whether my insurance will keep covering my unhealthy but (ditto). I’m fortunate in a lot of ways that I took the chance on life, in spite of all of the setbacks and the issues I am having with body image and fitness envy. I will keep pushing forward and seeing things through, in spite of the last couple weeks of setbacks, car sales and doggy illness (my little pup Scarlett has been having some stress issues, which is making to tough for me to deal with her). And of course, my birthday is coming up, which always causes a lot of unneeded stress in my life.
One thing I will be doing with my old car is I will be pretty much giving it away. The guy that wants it needs it badly, for he is struggling with the Tucson bus system and having a little ride that can get him back and forth from work will help him out tremendously. In a lot of ways, it was paying it forward for me, for I feel a little guilty for even taking 100 dollars from him, which he said he would give me even though I told him he could have the car free and clear, mainly because it will either go to him or go to the junk yard. It was kind funny, for maybe karma was thinking highly of me for thinking about giving away that hunk of junk for free. Ironically, I ended up winning a contest at work and got first pick since I was the first one to actually show up. I walked home with a PS4 Pro, which I intend to sell since I have no reason to waste much of my time with the whole video gaming side of life. I might get a good three hundred bucks out of it if I play my cards right. It was pretty funny about the whole announcement as well, for the room that had the prizes was gonna be shut down a little after three o’clock and I was able to get off a little early to get the prize. When they announced the winners on the company email, I thought it was like a silly hat or something…so you can imagine my surprise. I mean, I never win anything nice! Being the first one to choose had its perks, so of course I took the most expensive one. I could have taken a really nice mixer or the iPad Air 2….but I really saw little resale value in those two items. When in doubt, take the hot sales item.
As I got through the motions over the next couple weeks, I will certainly miss the old hoopoe that was my Mercury Tracer. If anything, it will be a constant reminder of what could have been for my own life. Who knows how long I would have to live if I had kept doing all of the bad things I was doing. We shall see what life will bring me now that I have a much more finely tuned ride to work with!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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