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As a new year’s resolution, I decided to lift weights.  

All I had been doing for that kind of exercise was lifting a bag of kitty litter every week.  My regular exercise was typing fast.  It was time for improvement.

So I went to the sporting goods store and paid $42 for a 32 lb. dumbbell kit.  And started out with six pounds on each hand.  Most mornings, I would lift biceps , triceps, traps, lats and pecs, each until they began to burn.   After a few weeks, I replaced the three pound weights with five pound weights.  That felt too easy, so I’ve added the three pounds.  That had my attention.  So much so that I just dialed it back to ten pounds.  I want to lift well, after all. I’ll be on this for a few weeks before I consider getting some 7 pound weights.

The critical step in this exercise was not buying the weights, but using them.  I plunked down the cash, and I could have been satisfied with the title of “weight owner”.  I could have started any time, like tomorrow.  But I only took possession of the weights when I used them, owned them, now.

Staying with exercise, I have the nicest bike I’ve ever owned now.  It is in a shed I built in the backyard with a greenroom, of all things.  Its up for the winter, but we went riding a bit when it got warm for a day.  My biking has gone way down since I got a driver’s license, moved to an unfamiliar city, learned to use transit, became more time sensitive, moved to the suburbs 15 miles from downtown, started getting up at ungodly hours, and had to take my wife to the metro then myself to work.   Suffice it to say that I bike about a thousandth as much as I did twenty years ago.  There is no reason for this lapse but convenience, and excuses.  

One excuse I didn’t give myself was the age or quality of the bike.  That sits in my shed.

Behind me, there’s a shelf among all the nonfiction loaded with computer books.  Flash, Sendmail, Javascript, Linux. Java.  All from a  bygone era when I thought I wanted to cadre more about those things.  Some of those books are O’Reilly Books, which are generally a pleasure to read.  Now, I could not bring myself to read 300 pages about sendmail until all my life’s work was done.  The comedy of computer and IT books is that the software changes every year.  My classics from the late 90s/early 2000s are less useful than Chaucer to pass the TOEFL.  

But there they sit, gloriously mine.

I paid a pretty penny for some of those books.  I thought that laying down the cash was the award part, then.  What I really needed was a lay-flat binding and hours in front of the computer learning to love using Flash.  I bought the books, but I never owned them.  

Our house is full of stuff we never use, but we have it just in case we might.  I will honor my 10 shelf-feet of LPs  for the rest of my days, even if I don’t have the teenage motivation to play it anymore.  Music is much easier with mp3s, anyway.  I am kidding myself with some of the things I have.  I use them so little, but they take up so much space.

This is why I prefer checking books out from the library.  The things that are in them are not mine until I read them.  Until I use them.  And a 3 week window to do that is just about right to read most books.  Much better than an indefinite time on my shelf.  I have an entire stack of books next to me that I first read from the library, and loved so much that I had to buy them.  I owned them, and then I bought them.

The Swahili term for this is “Kizito”

I hopefully will be in a position to write about traffic next week.