Thursday, June 28, 2007

fear and loathing at the gym

While life in general can't get much better for me right now, the one challenge I face is having moved home for the first time in at least 5 years - and the reality that of my high school friends, only one remains in the area. I didn't grow up here, I transfered to my high school my sophomore year and it was mostly a boarding school - so many of my friends never lived here in the first place. So, while I have plenty to keep myself busy with, and virtually my whole family is here, my girlfriends are not. The cute shirts I splurged on before I left SoCal in a last ditch tribute to the materialization it fostered in me hang, taunting me with my lack of places to wear them. I think if I were moving here for good I'd have a better sense of how to forge into my local community and make a life here - but given all that's up in the air I'm a bit tentative about venturing out too far.

So, I'm thinking of joining the gym. I'm working at home, so getting out of the house is even more important than it would be if I were just facing the sudden lack of social life (well it's not like my social life was kicking in Nkandla, but I had a bunch of kids to wrangle so there wasn't really any time to dwell!). The trouble is, I hate the gym. I have never been a gym goer. They make me incredibly self-conscious, and not just because of the spandex and the bodies that make what I like to think are the naturally toned arms I got from my mom look like gummy worms - I'm always afraid I'll break something. Or I'll misinterprate a machine and everyone will silently (or not silently!) laugh as I struggle to do leg curls with the tricep machine.

Still, if South Africa taught me anything it's that I better damned well take advantage of the good health I have, and do my best to respect my body and take care of it - simply because I have every resource available to do so. Plus, there's a gym literally across the street from our house, which is small and privately owned with a nice outdoor pool, a steam room and twice daily yoga classes. I think I can make it work.

Aside from joining the gym - I'd love to hear from anyone with ideas about how to meet people in a place where you really shouldn't need to. It's not like moving to a new place for the first time - I'm a bit anxious about meeting people and saying, "ya, I spent high school here but I don't really know anyone or anything about this place." I want to explore, but I can't do so through the dating scene because my heart has already settled in far-off Paris. So ya, any thoughts?



Blogger mist1 said...

Every time I think about joining a gym, I buy a Shape magazine and a bottle of wine and wait for it to pass.

6/29/2007 2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I believe the gym as excellent place to meet new friends. If there is a general happiness about you and you are open to conversation, there shouldn't be any problem at all.

If I may suggest the local hiking/biking/climbing/whatever club as well.

Are you in the city or the burbs?

Random Guy

6/29/2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

good, albeit contradictory, thoughts from you both - thanks!

Random guy - good to see you here after so long. I am in Monterey - by no means a city but I wouldn't call it the burbs either. There's definitely not a shortage of things to do around here though - it's just a different scene from Orange County...

6/29/2007 11:05 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

That is really hard. I never have an easy time meeting new people. When I briefly did go to the gym there were a few I exchanged pleasantries with so maybe it is a good plan.

6/29/2007 11:08 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

No idea if they have it in your town, but I met tons of people here through Here in DC there's a site for everything (volleyball, biking, adventure, happy hours, nightlife, girls group) -- really worth checking it out. Basically the events are scheduled online, but you meet offline -- no weirdos yet...

6/29/2007 4:57 PM  
Blogger Peter DeWolf said...

Three words...

Prison Penpals.

Not really.

What about a book club?

6/29/2007 6:55 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Unfortunately where I'm from you have to go to one of the sleezy small-town bars to meet people. And they're usually already drunk. And you're liable to run into the people from high school that you really didn't want to be reminded of their existence.

I don't meet many people at the gym. Nobody wants to make friends with the sweaty fat guy.

But you know anything is possible as long as you keep a positive attitude!!

7/01/2007 7:31 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Nat - glad I'm not the only one!

Beach Bum - what's a beach bum doing in D.C.? Meetup is a good call - I used to do Spanish meetup and be on all the political lists - but D.C. just seems to have a leg up on cool in regards to these things. There's something about community-building in D.C. that people really get on board with - I can tell just by the success of the blogging community!

Peter - per usual, you made me guffaw. Book club is a great idea on a number of fronts!

Greg - I'd totally do the sleazy small town bar thing every once in awhile but given my hoighty-toighty school, the biggest "losers" we had were the folks who didn't make it to the Ivy League (I'm one of them)!

7/02/2007 9:56 AM  
Blogger lia said...

Hey Megs,

Check out craigslist for the monterey bay. Activity partners is a good place to start. There are some decent people who want someone to hike with, play tennis with, etc. And you can read the description, talk or email with them first, and then decide if you want to actually see them. I think it can be a good and non-creepy way to meet people. You can even post looking for someone. Finnie played tennis with a couple different people in Berkeley through it, and it worked out great. :) Love you!

7/02/2007 10:33 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I've never met anyone at the gym, but unless people at your gym are shockingly unkind, nobody will laugh about how you use machines. And I always ask people if I can't figure something out - people are nice. And I think the hiking/biking/climbing club is a great idea.

7/02/2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

That's a tough one. Just enjoy spending time alone and you'll make friends, I think. Do the stuff you like to do, and they'll come to you. Um, maybe not. Volunteer. Get a part-time job at a bookstore or something.

And don't worry about looking silly on the machines. Everyone looks silly clenching their jaw and sweating. And if you're not sure how to use something, just ask someone!

7/03/2007 11:42 AM  

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