And just like with Ms. Atwood, I wish I’d read some of his other work first.
I spent some time thinking about how to write a review of this book, how best to sum it up. Then I came across the New York Times review of it and realized that I can’t put it any better than they did. So I’m going to be horribly lazy and just link to theirs:
I have a shameful confession: The Heart Goes Last is the first novel by Margaret Atwood I’ve ever read. The absence of her work in my reading history is one of my biggest gaps.
I wish I’d read some of her other work first.
The Heart Goes Last isn’t anything much beyond fine. It’s not great and it’s not a testament to her prestige. If it weren’t for Ms. Atwood’s larger reputation, this novel wouldn’t impel me to read anything else by her.
In the interest of full disclosure, getting myself back to health wasn’t as straightforward or as easy as my last posts make it sound. I faced crises on the path—several, actually, at several points in the process. Maybe it would help to share one of those crises here.
The following is something I wrote two-and-half years ago, about a month after I’d started going to the gym on a regular basis. I’d spent the previous few years slowly reversing my inertia of inactivity and had finally reached a point that going to the gym for more serious exercise was something I genuinely wanted to do.
Even then, even with all my new motivation to get healthy, I still found myself close to giving up…
But what if nothing much changes in your life to make you care about improving your health?
You could just keep on as you are—which means that, eventually, you could end up with some kind of health scare. Better if it never gets that far.
I think there’s a way to build up to caring about your health without a scare and without major life changes—much like how I took many small steps to slowly change my inertia of inactivity, you can generate a momentum of caring. It starts with a necessary first step:
Getting rid of some of the obstacles that built up and stopped me from committing to exercise was an essential part of my path to better health, but it wasn’t the only factor. I need to talk about the elephant in the room:
Back in my late 20s and early 30s, when I was overweight and sedentary, my health simply didn’t matter all that much to me. I didn’t care about it.
It wasn’t just the cascade of obstacles that stopped me, it was the fact that getting healthier wasn’t important enough to me to bother overcoming them.