When I get on the treadmill at the health club, I don’t pay much attention to the people around me, other than to nod in greeting if they happen to glance over as I’m getting on or off. So I didn’t notice anything unusual about the young woman on the machine next to mine until someone else walked by and started talking to her, congratulating her on her new baby and saying how great it was that she brought him to the club with her.

That’s when I glanced over and realized that the blue cloth she was holding in front of her wasn’t a towel, like the kind many at the health club carry with them to wipe the sweat off their faces or exercise machines. It was a baby blanket, covering the sleeping infant tucked into the baby carrier strapped tightly around her.

“Wow,” I said, after the other woman walked away. “I didn’t realize you were lifting weights as well as doing cardio.”

She laughed, and lifted the edge of the blanket so I could see her little angel.

“How old is he?” I asked.

“Five weeks,” she answered. “He seems to like this. He sleeps right through it.”

“He’s safe and warm, snuggled against Mommy,” I pointed out, “with a nice, gentle rhythm going on. What’s not to love?”

I give that young mother a lot of credit, especially when I think about how easy it is to come up with excuses for skipping the gym: I’m too tired. Too busy. It’s too late. Or too early.

I’m pretty sure “I just had a baby five weeks ago” would also count as a legitimate excuse. As would the issue of finding someone to watch the baby while the mom snuck out for a workout. Not to mention the fact that taking care of a new baby could be considered a workout in itself.

Yet there she was. Not only getting in some exercise, but working her new baby into her routine as well. And getting some cuddling time for both of them in the process.

I’m going to try to remember this woman, and this scene, whenever I’m about to come up with an excuse for avoiding something. Not just working out, but problems I don’t want to face, or chores and projects I don’t feel like tackling. It’s easy to come up with excuses. It’s more of a challenge to figure out – and implement – a plan for overcoming the obstacles I’m using to avoid whatever it is that needs to be done. But when I do, I know I’ll be better for it, and I’ll have a greater sense of satisfaction when I’m done.

Just like the lady on the treadmill.

March 1, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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