Dateline, Mallorca, 5 January, 2009. (this is where you should be making the sound of a teletype to reflect the immediacy of the news herein written…that is if you actually are old enough to know what a teletype used to sound like at the beginning of the news).

It may only be a bit past noon today, but the sun is out and I am completely chuffed.  Yes, today was the day I have been waiting to arrive for the past six months or so.  Whilst the process I have gone through has been a tad tiresome at times (like every day), in today’s post, I actually received my Spanish driver’s permit.  This just has to be a great day. 

I was thinking over the hols what I really would like to accomplish this year.  I am not one who gets too wrapped up in making New Year’s resolutions but it is still okay to reflect on what you want to do.  I think that I don’t make a huge written list of resolutions because in the past, I have rarely managed to realise them.  This could be for a variety of reasons, with the number one reason being that in the past, many of the resolutions I have made have been pretty daft.  There is the tried-and-true ‘get into better physical shape’ resolution that many of us make each year.  Several years ago, when I was still in resolution-making mode, I decided that this would be a good thing to focus on.  I analysed what I ate and the amount of exercise I did.  The food thing was pretty easy to sort out, but the whole exercise thing is pretty structured for someone like me.  Whilst I am quite disciplined about some things, the very thought of following some exercise regime was a bit much for me to deal with.  So I did what so many people do, and actually considered joining a health club. 

Right.  The health club thing.  I did find one on a website that looked interesting.  I was having some concerns when I found the website had a virtual tour of the facility, and the young incredibly fit woman doing the tour announced that here name was Seven.  Who names their child Seven? It had a pretty well kitted-out weight room that was chocker with what appeared to be machines designed by Dr. Mengele and racks and racks of shiny dumbells.  The club even had a pool, sauna, and running track.  Hmmm.  The cost wasn’t that oppressive, but just as I was about to metaphorically put euros on the table, I realised that in order to use all this kit, I would have to actually go there several times a week.  Each week.  Every week.  I re-thought what I was about to do and realised that this just wasn’t for me.  Instead, I decided to consider joining one of those yoga or Pilates groups that most cities have in about the same quantity as a Starbucks.  Hmmm.  After talking to several people who rambled on about how good bending and stretching my body in ways that God had never imagined, it became clear to me that this wasn’t the answer either. So I did what any other self-respecting, quasi-clever person would do.  I decided to open my own health club. 

The “Dr. Rieley’s Health-Club-Fitness-Centre-Sunny-Terrace-Smoking-Lounge” is pretty great.  No real equipment to get tangled up in.  No outrageous monthly fee just in order to sweat.  No paranoid litigiously-driven disclaimers to sign.  And no other members.  Just me, working once in a while on being more fit.  The daily workplan (on the days when I actually do it) includes a bugger-long walk.  I do have a car (and now an actual valid Spanish drivers permit) but there is the whole ecology-carbon-footprint thing, so I walk what feels like 32,000 kilometres each day.  I used to have one of those step counters, but for some reason, after walking for an hour, it would never display how many steps it felt like I had taken, so I binned it.  I also do some stretching exercises each morning when I wake up.   I was thinking about ringing my solicitor to see if I could get a patent on them, but I was afraid he would say something less-than encouraging.  Besides, my stretching exercises are more to ensure that my body will actually be able to get me out of bed in the morning than to tone up those abs and pects and whatever else I have under my skin. 

And by now, some of you are probably thinking, ‘why doesn’t he quit smoking if he wants to become more fit?’  From a non-smoker’s perspective, that could be a fair question.  But I am not really too sussed about the smoking thing; largely because of my ‘be healthy’ ace-in-the-hole.  Years ago as part of my work research, I learnt how to do visioning.  Yes, visioning.  Each day, I see myself as healthy.  (if you are shaking your head wondering which planet I am writing this letter from, don’t worry…I am still here in Mallorca on the planet Earth).  The whole visioning thing can be a bit tricky, but what I do is almost the same as seeing myself doing what I do each day, but I see myself as healthy whilst doing it.  You could say it is like seeing yourself on telly.  You have to adjust the focus to make sure that you can clearly see, but with some practise, anyone can do this.  To do this well, it means that I look at myself from several perspectives but always focussing on my physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  Now if you are a doubting Thomas (or someone with another name but who thinks I have eaten some bad paella), you have to realise that  it really doesn’t matter how scientifically promising this is…it works for me.  I actually told my doctor about my visioning a couple of years ago, and his response was that if it works, keep doing it.  This visioning does require some effort, but from where I am sitting, it is one hell of a lot less effort than getting up each day and being faced with the spectre of sweating along with a group of other people at some health club trying to avoid being eaten by a multi-tubed chrome pain machine. 

I used my visioning process whilst I was going through all the steps in the silly driver’s examination process.  Each time I had to put up with some completely ludicrous government-driven exercise in draining my checkbook, I kept focused on seeing myself buzzing around the island with a proper Spanish driving permit.  And now I have it. 

Life is full of good news and bad news, and often they are the same thing.  My good news is that I now have my driving permit here; the bad news is that now that I have my permit, I will have to come up with something else to envision besides just being healthy.  Hmmm.


a teletype machine



pondering making resolutions last year


what hell must look like


this is so not me


what happens when yoga runs amuck



a completely gratuitous photo of some plants at Sol y Mar


the view from my health club this morning

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, James B. Rieley