Did you know that, in the 19th century, billiard balls could explode? Yeah. Billiard balls made of ivory had gone out of fashion, due to concerns about elephant hunting, so manufacturers turned towards artificial ivory. Made out, among other things, nitrocellulous – also known as guncotton. Which was extremely flammable and could explode. But it was also the first man-made plastic.
What does that have to do with anything? Well, I’ve got three billiard balls that I keep at my desk for contact juggling, and it sparked a thought: sometimes, even a really good idea has unintended consequences. The man who made the first plastic billiard balls wasn’t trying to invent Russian roulette-style snooker. Or set in motion a process that William Kogut to kill himself with a pipe bomb made out of playing cards. He just wanted to win a prize for creating an artificial billiard ball. Sometimes, the things you do for good reasons have strange side-effects.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ve probably noticed that I’m in a funk about my lack of progress with my weight loss. That’s the strange side-effect of having been successful, because by any definition I have been successful. I’ve lost 110 pounds, which is bloody well impressive. But, when I look back on it, in my head it came off easily. I don’t think about all the sweating I did, and all the effort it took, and the frustration I felt when I didn’t feel like I was making progress. All I remember is the weight coming off, and that’s why I’m in the funk now. Because, in my head, I should be losing more. I don’t see the 110 pounds that I’ve lost, I see the 90 pounds I have left. And then I see the way I’ve stalled out, and even though I know there were genuine reasons (not just excuses) for it, I get frustrated and upset with myself.
Here’s where I feel like I should type something uplifting. Something inspiring, about how to overcome that frustration. But the truth is, I’ve got nothing. I’ve spent months banging my head against that frustration, without progress. The only thing I can figure is that I’ve lost my focus on my weight loss. Early on, I worked at it with an intensity that bordered on obsession. But now? Now it’s like the success I’ve had has backfired. I feel better, my health has improved, I’m more active, and I’m tired of all the effort and just wants to relax.
Well, heck. Here I go, complaining again. The very thing I said I wouldn’t do. And I keep trying to type sentences like “Clearly, the thing I need to do is…”, which is a sure sign that I’m trying to psyche myself up again. So, instead, I’ll just say this: It’s January 12, and it’s 64 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I think I’ll walk over to pick up my son from kindergarten today, and then get my exercises in while he does his homework. Unless it rains. Then I’ll just pick him up on my way home, and then do my exercises while he does his homework. Get myself back in my routine, while I try to figure out my lack of motivation.