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Double Edge Pledge

By Tina Portelli


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While in the throes of acceptance, I experience hope.  I know I will never

be a size four again, but that does not discourage me from fantasizing

about it.  Even as I acknowledge middle age and the limitations of it,  I

dream about recapturing my youthful body, or,  as close as I can get to it.


This is not an easy task.  It is difficult to keep one leg raised while

squeezing my abs tight, inhale and exhale.  It is no easy feat to stand

tall, balanced on one foot holding a purple ball over my head.  The effort

of dressing and undressing, showering and redoing myself  in itself renders

me breathless, as does carrying my gym equipment.


In an effort to stick with it, I have joined a better gym.  Better towels,

better showers, better steam, better reasons to go there.  The pampering

element, the more frills I can find in a club, the better my attendance

will be.  Excersize alone will not get me there.


I soon discovered that my motivation to stay fit has two levels, hope and


I find hope "Uptown" and fear "Downtown".  These are the two locations I

can choose from to workout.


The uptown location is "State of the Art".  New tile, updated equipment,

larger facilities, a more pleasant place to go.  Everyone there dresses the

part, from matching socks and running shoes to perfect color coordinated

spandex.  It is a youthful crowd, inspiring me to work harder, giving me

hope that I may someday aspire to the level of fitness and firmness I am

seeing in these strong, well toned young bodies. Yes, they are my



The downtown location is "Old" as is the crowd.  The space is smaller, the

tile a bit dull, the carpet worn.  The equipment while functional is not

the newest.  I have been locker-room shocked to see what gravity has done

to these past middle age women.  Enough so, that I am motivated to work

harder, trying to defeat the calling of age.    In their overlay of naked

drooping fat there is sadness.  Yet I give them credit for being there in

the first place. I appreciate the glimpse of what my fate could be, knowing

I will someday change too, realizing what I have to do to prolong the

inevitable.  Yes, these old women are my motivation too.  They make me

afraid "Not to" workout.


So when I want the luxury of the new club, I go "Uptown" even if it does

make me feel inferior to these svelte young women, reminding me of my

slender past.


And when I want to feel like Miss America, I go downtown.


Either way I sway, I am motivated!