Once everything is boiled down to the lowest common denominator, there are only two ways to react to what life throws at you: Curl up into a ball on the floor, or stand up – chin high – and plow through it.
When I’m faced with some decision or problem, once I’ve kicked it around in my head and tried to work all of the angles, I come to one final question: What’s it going to be? It’s one or the other, there is no black and white or shades of gray – it’s just a choice. Sure, there’s plenty of room for choices before you get to the final decision – I can procrastinate all I want. I can hem and haw, I can wiggle and squirm, I can try to dodge around life’s little stumbling blocks, but in the end it all comes down to that one little choice. Fetal Position, or motor baby.
Let’s apply this simple principle to something that’s not so easy: Staying motivated to work out, day after day, week after week, year after year. When it comes time to hit the road, when I really “don’t feel like it”, I break it down to that choice. Every now and again, especially if I don’t have a big goal in front of me, I’ll choose the fetal position – it’s a viable option though I usually feel like a panty waist when I do. But try choosing the fetal position two or three times in a row. In ten years of running I’ve never been able to do it. I have taken weeks off at a time through the winter, for no better reason than not wanting to be cold, but I can’t get more than two or three weeks into that without Jones-ing for the relief a good hard run gives me. The choice changed a lot this year too – I’ve never had the ability to work out on a trainer in my office – the thought didn’t even cross my mind over all of those years. Now I can have my stress relief almost every day, I just have to suit up.
To sum that up in a nut shell, my mental well-being, my very stability is tied to working out – I know this to be a fact, an indisputable, irrefutable fact. Because it is so important to who I am, “I just don’t feel like it” doesn’t stand a more than once in a blue moon chance.
My mentor in training, Grateful Jim, will look at me from time to time with tears in his eyes – this happened just last Saturday – and say, “you know, you more than anyone else in our group has really stuck with this” or “you know, nothing made me happier than that day you and [English] Pete passed me on the road pushing your kids in those buggies” or “it makes me proud how far you guys have come”… Besides the fact that we should all have someone like that in our lives, if only for the reminder, the sense of pride – that “need” to stay as fit as I can be, is now a part of who I am and it’s only tripled since I started cycling last summer. I believe that once the “want” to stay fit changed into a need, getting out really wasn’t so much an option that could be shoved to the side on a whim. The trick, of course, is sticking with it long enough for the transformation to occur.
Now, there is a post script to this that really eliminates the fetal position choice and involves another of Big Daddy Jim’s Self Evident Truths. The fetal position is a temporary choice. One way or another, I’m going to have to motor through my problems – they tend to be big enough today that they won’t just go away on their own… So the only other option is death, which leads into Self Evident Truth #5:
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
So there’s really only one option, which is good – it keeps things simple.
As a P.S.S. My buddies Marc and English Pete have stuck with their fitness just as much as I have. We three members of our running club are tied at the hip in dedication.
Yesterday was a pretty rough day for me though you wouldn’t have been able to tell from my posts. I had plenty to complain about if I had chosen to go that way. Just to give you an idea, a glimpse if you will, into how bad yesterday started out, about an hour and a half into my day at the office the zipper on my jeans broke, irreparably. It broke so completely and in such a bad place that I couldn’t get even half of it re-zipped. I walked around all day yesterday with my fly open – including all of my Valentine’s Day shopping and at the office supply warehouse. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, I’d just go to a store and pick up a new pair and I’d be fine… However, due to severe extenuating circumstances which I will not detail here, that simply wasn’t advisable.
Now that’s just the first bad thing. I had a truck load after that.
Problems notwithstanding, in times like these I rely heavily on my faith in God – this isn’t for everyone and I’m not about to preach. That’s just the way I roll. I also rely on my #1 Self-Evident Truth, which will be posted shortly after this, and the two have gotten me through thinner times than these. Lastly, I rely on a good hard workout – I’ve written about this before, there’s nothing like a charge of endorphins to brighten a day.
By the end of the day (and after one killer workout on the bike – I love that) my attitude and outlook changed for the better. My major problems of the moment worked out and my wife and I had an excellent Valentine’s Day with our kids, though we fell asleep a little early, curled in a tight ball on the couch.
Congratulations to the Detroit Red Wings – 21 Consecutive Home Wins – a new record.