Bullseye! Exercise Part 1: Archery Class

One of my goals this year is to become more active, so I joined our Wellness Center.

That gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid: learn archery.

I remember reading a book my great-grandfather had, a version of the Robin Hood story. I don’t recall its title or author (Grandpa passed away when I was 8 years old, in 1983) or much else except its ending:

Maid Marian had died some time before, and Robin was dying (from age or a wound or a broken heart I can’t recall) too. He told his friends, “bury me where my arrow lands,” and fired an arrow into the sky.

The arrow landed in the ground right beside Marian’s grave.

That was simultaneously the greatest shot and the most romantic thing I had ever seen, heard, or read.

I think that’s when I started wanting to learn the bow. 

Then, of course, I saw this gem:


… and I was even more hooked.

Anyway, that’s really my bullseye up there in the picture. It’s the only one out of probably 60 shots (and we won’t talk about how many missed the target altogether), but I’m proud of it. 

I’m more proud of the way my shots improved over the course of the session. I’m learning! 

Also, everybody in the class is super friendly and supportive. Thanks to Sarah for taking and emailing me the picture. I’d left my phone in my car.

And archery is a great workout for a beginner like me. Sure, I’m a bit sore from pulling back that bowstring so many times, but it’s nothing painful. It’s more like a reminder of the fun I had in archery class.

Jumping into something like Zumba or even yoga always made me feel ragged, discouraged, and occasionally even hurt. This, I think, was a much wiser choice. And besides:

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Long Journey, Part 2: A Long Road That Has No Turn

​https://youtu.be/sGs9V7iDuZU

Yesterday, I talked about how the changes I want to make in my life all promise a lot of effort, even pain, with no guarantee of arrival. 

I’ve been thinking about that since I wrote it,  and it occurs to me just how  fortunate I am.  

The goals I have to struggle toward are self-actualization goals. The first four levels of Maslow’s needs hierarchy are pretty much taken care of. 

I have a good job (one I enjoy most of the time)  with benefits and truly good co-workers. 

There is plenty of food in our panty,  fridge,  and deep freeze,  and money to eat out of we don’t feel like cooking

Our house is safe, dry,  un-infested, and everything works. 

I live in  a safe neighborhood.

I only drive about 2 miles to work.

As a white (cis, het) man, the world is an infinitely safer place for me than it is for most other Americans. 

I have a loving wife and daughter. 

I have an extended family, and we love each other (even my in-laws, which I understand makes me really lucky).

Truthfully, my stakes are low. If I fail at these personal goals, I will be upset with myself, and my life will not improve. 

But my kid won’t starve, I won’t lose my house, I won’t be raped and then watch my rapist get 6 months in prison, and I won’t be gunned down while buying a bb gun at Wal-Mart.  

We all want to improve ourselves and our lives, but it’s easy to lose track and think that if we can, anyone can. For people like me, that kind of thinking is part of the problem. 

A Long Journey, with Much Pain, and No Guarantee of Arrival


I realized something today about all the things I want to change about myself: 

Every one well be painful and long.  None will be accomplished overnight. They will require me to hurt for a fairly long time. 

Muscles will ache. My mind will wrack  with ideas and extended effort, long after inspiration has passed. 

And not a single one of them comes with a guarantee of success. 

There are smarter ways to work, tactics to prevent injury and burnout, and tips to lighten the load, but there will be no more easy victories. Becoming vegan was the only one of those I’m likely to get. 

The sooner I accept this,  the sooner I can really get started. 

Heh. Does this mean I’m finally growing up?