Been thinking on this for some time, and finally decided to write this.
We all joined the hobby looking for a Civil War Experience, and lets be frank, they are some real basic ways to get this-
A- Wear what they wore- no modern undies, T shirts, modern crap or Pakistani junk- wear what they wore in the materials they did, amnufactured in the manner it was
B- eat what they ate- forget the coolers and gatorade, eat the same foods they did, get the same gas they did.
C- Do what they did- not just sit and camp, waiting for a beer, battle or a ball. Follow a military shcedule all weekend. It was an army you know
D- Attend events that focus on "them" and history, and not reenactors and making profits or putting on a public spectacle
Ok, you do all of the above, what is next?
Improving your inner enjoyment.
Many events worth attending require a good bit of physical work. In hot weather, with hard tasks.
I know I used to actually fear long marches- I am admitting that- personally I have been concerned as having health issues and packing on 40 pounds of blubber will make you worried about falling out, and letting your men down, and not having fun because you are worn out or sick.
What fun is that?
So I could do one of two things- go to events with no physical expectations and dumb down my hobby to it because more of a old timey fireworks display put on my 2nd graders, or I could fix my arse.
I went for option two.
In the past 5 months I have dropped 39 lbs, run 2 miles at least 4 times a week, do over 400 crunches and 125 pushups each night, returned to martial arts after 18 years and have at least 2 hours of full contact sparring each week as well. This really helps after reading the forums.
I eat healthy food, smaller portions- yes I still smoke ribs and brisket, butnot once a week anymore, and oatmeal is my best friend.
With 10 pounds to go, I am feleing great. My uniforms no longer fit me like 200 pounds of crap stuffed into a 170 pound bag. I don't fear anything physical any evnet can through at me. Bring it on. I no longer worry about letting my guys down by falling out and causing them issues. I am not worried about another heart attack in the field. I look more like a soldier, and less like a lumpy sack of blubber.
I guess what I am saying is this- You can invest $500 in a new frock coat, only to fall out 2 miles into a march wearing it, and your experience, they experience of your pards, and the trouble caused for the event staff will negate any amount of money you have spent to have a good impression.
Take 30 minutesout of your day- do something, even if it is just walking the dog. Stop drinking sodas with empty calories, start drinking more water. hydration is not created at an event, but in the week before. Find something you like to do physically, and do it. I know I could not just excercise to do so, it took martial arts, and the need to be faster, stronger and able to take punched/kicking for 9 minutes at a time (oh and win!) to get me running and exercising. I forgot how much fun it was.
Just joining a gym is worthless (actually is will cost you more than upgrading your 1862 kit). Find something you enjoy, that will require self improvement to be good at.
Like reenacting. Enjoy it more, have more fun, don't fall out and ruin yours and others weekends. You spend too much time and money inthis hobby not to do so.
Anyhow, some thoughts this morning on how to better experience the Civil War.
Be better prepared physically to do so.
Take the time to invest in yourself.