“Things do not change. We change.” – Henry David Thoreau, Author/Philosopher
There are many accomplishments for which I am proud. Landing my first real job, receiving my Masters Degree, cultivating lasting friendships (some of which have lasted close to three decades); marrying my soul mate, raising my children…all of these come to mind. But looking back, the one accomplishment that always pops to the top of my head is being named to the varsity long jump team in high school. Yes, it was only for one meet (I broke my foot in practice the next day). But the reason I always think back to this milestone in my life is for the sole reason that for all practical purposes, I had no business being on a track team, let alone in Varsity standing. Yet, I believe the reason I made the team came down to two monumental factors; I enjoyed the process, and I didn’t allow my mind to paralyze my body. I lost myself in the process and never thought about an end result. I just lived.
We have all come a long way since high school, and for most of us, that’s a good thing. After all, with time comes wisdom. Or does it? I know so much more now than I did 20 years ago. I’ve gained confidence and learned lessons that I am certain will come in handy the next time I start a new project, or try feeding my infant crackers. But, with time, I have also lost some of the wonder and magic in tackling new endeavors. I’m not sure I can place a tangible reason as to why. Perhaps with wisdom comes worry, and reality equals rationality, because that’s part of life, but it’s not all of it.
Every now and then, we all forget to live. We become prisoners of our own goals, whether they be cleaning out the closet or climbing Kilimanjaro, and we choose to fixate on the end result, rather than the process of what we want to achieve. No matter if we’re in the office or the gym, if we want to fulfill our goals, we need to let go of the prize and cling to the process.
I came across this video recently that got me back on track to enjoying my fitness journey. I never thought I would be able to identify with a woman who has completed 66 Ironman races, or a world renowned Ultra marathon runner. Watching these two, I just assumed they always had it figured out. Only to find that Rich Roll—an Ultra marathoner, who was named in 2009 as one of the 25 most fit men in the world—was at age 40, overweight, out of shape and on the verge of a heart attack. Hillary Biscay, a 66-time Ironman finisher, although always athletic, put her day job as a teacher on hold to pursue her hobby and dream of competing at a professional level. I’m going to admit, it’s still difficult for me to completely relate. For me, a good day at the gym is when I can walk out of Body Combat without my entire body begging for mercy. Roll and Biscay also swear by a plant-based diet, and while I think that’s amazing, I’m not quite ready to walk away from a good filet. But I am more than ready to allow more of the magic and joy into my journey to a healthier me. Varsity long jump today, half-marathon tomorrow???? It all begins with one step…and maybe a green smoothie for breakfast.
Written by Susan Madden
Christian DuChateau (2012). Rich Roll: From Fat Dad to Ultra Fit Father. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/08/living/fat-dad-to-fit-dad/. [Last Accessed 11/19/2014].
Hillary Biscay (2014). Profile. [ONLINE] Available at: http://hillarybiscay.com/#. [Last Accessed 11/20/2014].
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.