Sloth to Swole

The story of a real transformation

Category: Musings (Page 2 of 4)

When it comes down to it, I don’t think there’s any real “better-” or “worse-off.” There’s another quote that I really like (probably another one that Dad taught me growing up). It’s something to the effect of “you’re always where you’re supposed to be.” One of the most dangerous questions is “What If?” Of course there’s a difference between hilarious hypotheticals – “What if we lived in a world where cows milked people?” (A terrible example to be sure) – and “What ifs.”  “What if I didn’t break up with her?” “What if I had taken that job?” You know the questions – we’ve all asked them.  Even I have at times. 

You just can’t let that run your life, making you worry about every little decision that you make – whether it will make you better- or worse-off.  Really, decisions will just put you in different scenarios. I think it’s still up to us as to how we perceive those situations.  It’s possible for every situation to make us better – but the perception of the situation’s effect on you makes it reality.

I don’t think that I’m any better or worse-off because of the decisions I’ve made.  It’s quite possible that my decision to leave my old job for something new could have turned out terrible.  Moving down to DC could have been a horrible experience.  I’ve made a lot of decisions in the past couple of years – many with both good and bad consequences.  But in the end, I like where I am.  I can’t say it’s better or worse, but I like where I am, and that’s what is important.

My friends and I talked about how we rejuvenate our excitement for exercise.  We all tend to do the same thing – we buy some new running shoes, or some new clothes, or a new gadget like an app for our phone or a heart rate monitor.

Personally, when I was starting this program, I did all of the above!  New clothes, new shoes, new heart rate monitor, etc.  There’s something about it that really helps to pump you up and get you excited to start exercising again – I don’t know what it is.

But I started thinking, how can we keep that excitement going?  And how does that idea transfer to life in general?  How do we wake up every morning with that “newness” that excites us?

It makes me think of one of my favorite movies, “Hitch”, and the quote “Begin each day as if it was on purpose.”  I love that quote, but implementing it is tough.  Waking up is so “routine” – it’s expected.  There’s nothing “new” about it.

So sadly, the question still remains for me – how do you make every day new?  How do I wake up with all the excitement of a new pair of running shoes?  How do you start a day on purpose?

I thought I’d expound a bit on my last post – mainly because the song came on again today and, yet again, I stopped at that line – “Your value is a question of identity.” I’ve started thinking lately about happiness – where it comes from, how you get it, why some people have it in abundance while others severely lack it. I certainly don’t think this is the singular answer, but I think it’s a big part of it – how you identify yourself, how your see yourself.

For a long time, I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. When I did, I didn’t like the person looking back at me. And it wasn’t even completely related to my physical appearance – I didn’t like who I was, where I was going, what I was doing. The person looking back at me wasn’t the me I wanted to see. But for a while, I had just accepted where I was – I became complacent and okay with mediocrity. It was also (probably not coincidentally) around the same time that I was drinking more – I mean, I wasn’t doing anything else with my life.

Let me be clear that I was not living a bad life. At that point, I had graduated college, I had a good job that paid well, I had a great reputation with my coworkers and friends. By no means was I a terrible human being, or living in the slums or even “roughing it.” But still, I had given up. I had stopped trying in life and was coasting.

Come to think of it, it may all have been related to the first half of the quote – thinking that my worth is something to be achieved. I had plans – things I wanted to achieve – by a certain time, and they all fell through (looking back, thank God they did!). When those things didn’t come to fruition, I gave up. And because they didn’t, I valued myself less based on not achieving those things, when the truth was that I hadn’t changed.

… hmm might have to make this a three-parter.

Identity

Big Daddy Weave is a great Christian band that I really got in to years ago because of their version of “Let It Rise,” the first track on Every Time I Breathe. The second to last song on the album is “Who You Are To Me,” a song that speaks from the POV of God attempting to somehow convince His child that he is worth so much more, and that the child would only understand if He could show the child “who you are to me.”

It’s a great song no matter your belief, but I love this first line because, besides the Christian Truth (big “T”), it has a lot of secular truth to it as well. Every time this song comes on, I sort of stop listening after this line because it’s so profound. Anyway, I thought I’d share.

Some might say that I’ve had a very blessed life.  Those people wouldn’t be wrong, but I don’t know if I’d phrase it that way.  I’ve been afforded a lot of opportunities in my life that I have taken full advantage of.  Whether it’s being able to travel to other countries, performing at amazing venues around the world, meeting amazing people – I’ve been very lucky in my life to have been given these opportunities.  But being given an opportunity and taking the risk to pursue it are two very different things.

I try to say “yes” to any opportunity, but the key is knowing when to say “no.”  It’s easy for me to just say “follow your gut,” but there’s more to it than that.  It all comes back to knowing your limits – not limiting yourself, mind you, but knowing how far you can push yourself.

Anyway, I had an interesting conversation last night about opportunities and being open completely to them.  I think that’s the best way to be.  I believe that there are some who look for opportunities and end up missing them.  They are so focused on what they think is an opportunity that they miss others.  If you’re focused on getting a specific job, it’s important to realize that there are many ways to get to that job.  For me?  I wanted to work in IT Security, but I was an English Lit major working at a coffee shop.  But it was that coffee shop job that led me to meet the CEO of my first IT job (hired me out of the coffee shop).  And that job led to my current Information Security position.  And the only reason I took that coffee shop job in the first place was because it fit in to my class schedule.

You never know where opportunities are going to lead.  It’s important to be open to the possibilities.

Gilt City – Fujimar

Had a dinner date this evening with a buddy of mine.  I had gotten a Gilt City promotion – dinner for two off a custom menu – 1 house bottle of wine, 2 ceviche shooters, 2 sushi rolls (pictured above), 2 “hot plates” (entrees), and 2 desserts, all for only $75 bucks!  Pretty darn good deal, and delicious!  The rolls were the Eel roll (left) and Volcano roll (right). The rest of the food was great too!

I can’t tell you how I was feeling when I crossed that finish line today.  I remember feeling choked up like a well of emotion overflowing – I was so happy.  I saw my time; I knew when I crossed that I was under my target pace.  I knew that all the work I’ve been putting in recently, pushing myself physically, has been worth it.  And I knew that my goal of being better had been accomplished in a small way (though not nearly complete).

There were quite a few times during the race where I had to pump myself up.  Before the race even started, I saw a lot of people who looked like “real runners” – people who did this a lot and would probably put up some impressive time.  It made me really nervous because I was this newbie.  I had to remind myself that I had nothing to prove to them, but everything to prove to myself.  That really calmed me down.

After I started and before the first mile marker, I got really excited when my RunKeeper app told me my pace – at 5 minutes, I was pacing at 9:04 per mile, right where I wanted to be.  Having that audible reminder every 5 minutes was great to keep my spirits up and remind me that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.  That encouraged me a lot!

After the first turn, I started telling myself “If you walk, it doesn’t count.”  My boss told me this was something he said when he ran his Marathon.  If he walked at all during the race, the race didn’t count.  This was a way of pushing myself to keep running, even if my legs and feet were feeling tired.

At the last turn, heading back to the finish line, I just kept telling myself “You’re better than this,” “You can do this,” whatever I could to psych myself up.  Then, at this one underpass (which I think was a 1/4 of a mile to go), I told myself to “dig deeper.”  I knew I was close, so I found that extra energy and picked up my pace, passing runners left and right.  At the final straight away, when I could see the finish line and the time ticking up, I sprinted with people yelling “Finish strong.”

I know I have friends that have done 5Ks (and marathons).  I know there are a lot of people who run them and don’t think it’s a big deal.  Even some first-timers may be happy they finished but think nothing more of it.  For me, this was much more than finishing a race.  To me, crossing that finish line was proving to myself that I can overcome anything.  It meant that believing in myself is crucial to achieving anything I do.  And it meant that life is only worth it when you get out there and live it.  And I’ve felt more alive in the past few weeks than I have in a long time.

Ability and Desire

Faith

One of the important things about working out, especially during Insanity, is knowing your body and knowing your limits. You shouldn’t stretch yourself too far – you can really injure yourself with these videos if you push yourself too far. Insanity is really a marathon – you have to keep up with 60 days worth of this craziness!

Today was my Cardio Power and Resistance workout. Last night, I didn’t get much sleep, and today at work, I was so busy that I didn’t eat as well as I should (only had a bowl of yogurt and walnuts and a sandwich). So by the time I started my workout, I definitely did not have the energy for it. I did the video, and pushed through most of it, but by the end I was feeling dizzy and a bit light headed. So with about 10 minutes left in the video, I stopped. I might have been able to push through those last few minutes, but I didn’t want to risk it – I have 5 more weeks of this stuff anyway!

I think in life, this is an important policy, too – know yourself, or as the misquoted words of Shakespeare suggest, “This above all: To thine own self be true.” There will always be people that will try to get in your way, try to stop you. But really, the only person that can stop you is you!

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