When it comes to exercise, I’m not one to spend hours trying to perfect my body. I own a pair of dumbbells like this one, very quickly doodlewashed here, but I don’t really ever use them. No matter how many heavy things I lift, my arms remain rather skinny and nothing I do ever seems to change that. I might achieve a bit of muscle and definition for a brief time, but my body quickly eats it and I’m back to exactly as I was before. So, I gave up on lifting weights years ago. The only bit of exercise I’ve ever truly enjoyed was yoga. To be more precise, hot yoga, or Bikram yoga. That was amazing and I became addicted for a period of time years ago. What I loved was that, although my arms never grew larger, it made my body smaller to make everything match. Thin and consistent. That to me, was a breakthrough! Also, in Bikram yoga the resting position is standing or laying down, which makes perfect sense. Normal yoga employs a move called downward dog which required me to stand on my skinny arms with my ass up in the air. This is the least restful position I could ever imagine.
What strikes me as funny is hearing people chat or flirt on the street and ask the question, “Do you work out?” As if it’s not entirely obvious simply by looking at someone. But what they really mean is, do you have a hobby of perfecting your body like me. It’s a way of bonding I guess. For me, I’m quite content to have painting as a hobby instead. There are only so many things you can dedicate your time to, so if working out is the thing that makes you happiest, then by all means do that. But if you, like me, love painting and always finding time to make that happen, then simply eat healthier things, walk when you could drive, and take the stairs instead of elevators. There will always be a little moment to paint! I guess, in the end, I’m just a guy who likes to enjoy life and whether it’s my paintings or my body, I’m not interested in making a masterpiece. I just want to do the things I enjoy most and hope that in the process good things will come back to me in return.
Perhaps, that’s why I ultimately stopped doing Bikram yoga. As amazing as it was, the moves take a full 90 minutes to complete per class. In order to do it back then, I had to make it my only hobby. There are, after all, only so many hours in the day. Today, according to my doctor, I’m extremely healthy, but visually to those who “work out,” I would be considered perfectly average. I’m cool with that. I now have that time to paint and write and do the things I truly love most. I’ve learned that life is actually an exercise in making the right personal choices. No matter what trend is currently taking place or what your friends are all into at the moment, you have to form habits that work for you. If you want to be an artist, your habit has already been chosen for you. No matter what is happening that day, you feel that urge to create and make something new. Follow that feeling to wherever it takes you. It’s a daily habit that will make your better than you ever expected. And when you face that blank page, don’t worry about creating a masterpiece. You’re doing a bit of exercise.
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About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Red Rose Deep, Cobalt Turquoise, and Payne’s Gray. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.