After 3 days of being nearly bed-ridden & moping around the house I finally decided I had enough. It wasn’t because the muscle spasms in my back disappeared or the pain suddenly became bearable. It was because I remembered who I am, what else I have dealt with and how this was just one of those difficult moments I needed to overcome.
Sounds great? A lot easier said than done.
Admittedly, I did sulk a bit. I even cried.
3 weeks ago, I climbed a volcano and look at me now. I can’t even lift my arms above my head long enough to wash my hair. The pity party in my head was arriving and this scene was getting all too familiar. Memories of better days, comparison to current state, the spiralling into the dreaded “why me?” & finally climaxing to a predictable “life-sucks” mode. Ever notice how easy it is to delve into the vicious cycle of self-doubt & negativity?
Finally, I realized something. That constant positive upwards sloping line you see in economics text books isn’t really how life is – not in terms one’s achievements or personal fitness journey. Journeys have ups and downs. You can’t measure your achievements against a constant metric. One day you climb a mountain or you do an extra set at the gym on leg day. But on others, getting out of bed or getting the strength to wash your hair despite excruciating pain, is a victory. It’s not about how high the peak or fat the bonus. What defines you is how well you overcome the obstacles along the way. Life is about moments and how you survive them, or excel at them. How many bumps do you overcome and come back up fighting?
I share this revelation for 2 reasons:
- Struggle behind that smile: A lot of people out there seem to think my life is just peachy without any problems, struggles or real issues that need to be overcome. To be honest, I’ve stopped caring how I am being perceived by people who don’t know me (and working on not caring about those who do know me but whom I don’t care much about 🙂 ). However, it is not okay to judge people simply because they seem like they are “put together.” Don’t punish someone because they are happy and smiling. You don’t know the struggle behind that smile. They might just be survivors.
- Own your journey: To tell people who are experiencing an ongoing injury or condition that it’s okay to have off days. We love imagining our journey whether it’s fitness, or success according to a straight line where each day we’re supposed to get better & better until one day at the end of the line, at the “top” we reach perfection. That’s not the way it works and thinking like that is dangerous. Yes, have goals but break it down to putting in your best every day, given the existing challenges, circumstances, & issues, you currently face. No one else knows your journey like you do.
Some days, it might just be enough that you were able to wash your hair & put a smile on your face. And that’s okay, because you’ll live to climb another mountain.