I was thinking about this the other day as I was falling asleep: I’m glad I buckled down, changed my lifestyle, and lost all the weight and became healthy. I’m glad that I am now fit enough to experience all the things I have been able to do in the past two years. Without having lost the weight and regained my fitness, I would have missed out on many great experiences.
There’s more to life than can be seen from a couch or easy chair. I used to be content with being overweight and unfit. I would tell myself that it was okay, and that all those people out there, running, sweating, and being active were just kidding themselves. I told myself that I was being academic, and pursuing activities of the mind. What I failed to realize is how much richer the academic and mental activities are when you’re fit and healthy.
I love history. I love reading about the past, but there’s something incredibly moving about being able to go to a remote site or location and experience the history at the site it occurred. To be able to smell the air, see the sights, hear the sounds of these places that lived only in the history books when I was unfit and unhealthy really makes the history come alive in a way that would be otherwise impossible.
I love flying. I used to fly Cessnas, but I now fly radio controlled scale airplanes. My wife thought it’d be cool to get me a flight in a WWII-era training biplane as a present, and I was not only able to fly in it, but I was able to pilot the plane for a good half hour. This is something that would have been impossible at my pre-healthy weight. I literally would have been too heavy to fly in the plane, let alone fit in the cockpit.
Hang-gliding, zip-lining, hiking, climbing up and down stairs in castles, squeezing through tight spaces inside submarines and ships: all things that would have been impossible for me before.
These experiences have made my life richer and fuller. There is always time for sitting on the couch and curling up with a puppy and a book. But those are cold, or rainy days. The rest of the time, I like being outside, exploring, having adventures, and experiencing as many things as I can while I can. Some of it I was able to do when I was obese, but it took a toll on me and my body. Now? I can do just about anything without effort and fully enjoy the experience.