I stuff my mom’s old wedding dress into my suitcase, and force the zipper closed. Even my suitcase is protesting the idea of marriage.
The celebration? My parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. The emotions? Mixed. And I’m not exactly sure how to deal with it.
On the one hand, I feel incredible warmth. These are two people that I love deeply. And Jesus. They’ve shared a journey and a half together! They met when they were teenagers, for god’s sake. And although I’ve only ever witnessed a quick peck here and there….I hear stories about make-out sessions they used to have….my dad’s younger sisters peeking through the crack the in the door. An “education” they called it.
When I was little, I was well aware of the phrase, “opposites attract,” and I always felt that it applied to my parents, perfectly. My dad….tall, quiet, stoically hilarious, and extremely athletic. My mom…..short, boisterous, and could easily make friends with a fly on the wall.
They never seemed “in love,” to me. But love was there. In a kind of….yin yang respectful way. They did their own shit. They settled into their own roles. And they never wavered from them.
To this day….my mom bakes….because my dad has a sweet tooth. My dad calls when he’s gonna be late….because my mom is a worry wart.
They watch tv on different floors of the house. Her? Y&R. Him? Survivor.
But I think I’ve always wondered……have they always been happy together? Like….TRULY happy?
I don’t doubt they would say “yes,” if I asked them. Or some kind of wise variation of “yes”…..you know….the kind of bullshit that people write on post-it notes at a wedding shower. The secret to a long marriage is…..(pick your cliche).
How marriage defines us
When I lived in BC, my dad would come to visit on business. Just him. And we’d go out for dinner. It was a rare occasion to get the guy alone, and it always surprised me that he’d pick Indian, or Thai, or something with bold, bright flavours. My mom hates spicy food. And she’s got a solid rotation of roast beef, stew, meatloaf, and tuna-noodle casserole.
I’d tell my dad about the plans I have to travel to Bali, or South Korea, or Portugal….and he’d chime in, and say…. “You should go to Africa! I would go there in a heartbeat!” But my mom is a homebody. She hates to travel. And so they don’t. Travel, that is.
I’d mention….I’m kind of getting into Buddhism. I like the principles. He’d tell me…. “I actually think there’s something to the idea of re-incarnation.” And yet, he goes to the same Christian church he’s gone to for the last 35 years….with my mom.
As a kid, you always sort of wonder about your parents’ sex life (as vomit-worthy as it is to imagine.) I can remember “walking in on them” once. When I was 5 or 6, I barged into my parents’ room after a bad dream, only to be met with a panic of blankets being tossed into the air (“Lindsay! What do you want?!?”). The next day? My parents installed a lock on their door.
Smart move. And yet….I’m not sure how often it was actually used after that.
Older couples often tell you that everyone goes through a transition in their marriage. You go from being romantic partners…..to companions. Sex stops altogether, and you just…..enjoy growing old together.
And maybe that’s true. But is everyone happy with that?
Fuck marriage….I think
After my own divorce, the idea of marriage has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I can no longer fathom evolving and growing alongside a single person….through ups and downs, twists and turns…..for the rest of my life.
I mean, fuck. I thought I could do it. I followed the formula. I created a replica of my own parents’ marriage (or so I thought)….
And yet, it left me feeling hollow. And unfulfilled. And unhappy.
In the weeks following the initial break of my marriage, I can remember stuffing my brain with books by Esther Perel and Wednesday Martin…..convinced that human beings weren’t meant to be monogamous at all.
“We’ve got it all wrong”….I thought….”These rules of marriage….this promise we force everyone to make….it’s archaic!”
I took a hard swing towards the side of polyamory. Certain that love was not finite. That the heart could withstand connection without ownership, labels, or a sense of possession over someone else.
Turns out….that kind of love is incredibly hard to pull off, and requires monk-like levels of enlightenment that, frankly, I just do not have.
And so, I am left with all kinds of skepticism about marriage. Not sure if I just didn’t do it right, or if no one is doing it right.
Not sure if I want freedom to roam, right now….or for the rest of my life.
Can marriage support personal development?
I can remember the conversation I had with my parents, telling them all the reasons I wanted to get a divorce. None of them making any sense to them.
“You want freedom? You want independence? You want to be inspired by someone who can keep up with your growth (and push you to grow even more)? What the hell do you mean? Those aren’t ‘irreconcilable differences,’ are they?”
For me, levelling up, expanding, pushing the boundaries, realizing your own potential, and evolving….it is the PURPOSE of life. And I think sometimes, marriage can restrain that.
Personal growth is…..personal. And when a shift happens in a dramatic way, it can feel like the other person you are sharing a life with, is no longer walking beside you. And THAT is a scary feeling. Because you don’t know if the person will EVER catch up. And if it’s even possible for them to catch up at all.
It is my worst nightmare to settle into the La-Z-Boy version of who I am. Comfortable. Domestic. Reliably familiar. To no longer reach for a higher version of myself. Simply because, well, my husband needs me to fulfill a certain role.
I think about the life my dad could have had. The way he could have pushed himself outside of his own comfort zone. The way he could have lived with boldness, and abandon. Backpacking the world. Learning how to cook exotic dishes. Becoming a Buddhist.
And yet, he’d probably be the first to tell you, that trading that life….the life he could have had….for the one he was now, would be a definite no.
But then again, his definition of happiness is probably very different than mine. His definition of the purpose of life, is probably very different than mine.
How do we measure the success of marriage?
I raise my glass, and cheers my parents. “To fifty years!” we all say.
I stop and wonder, if there is a different marker of success we can use, when it comes to marriage. Rather than simply….the passage of time.
To me? A successful relationship would be one in which both people grow and evolve…..so much so, that they look almost nothing like the individuals who first entered the relationship. A simultaneous yet independent evolution….like a game of tennis.
But is that kind of relationship even possible?
I’m not sure I trust that it does.
I wander up to my parents’ room, at the hotel we’re all staying at for the big celebration. I chuckle at the locked door, knowing full well that there’s no way in hell I was interrupting anything.
I knock. My dad opens the door. And it’s hot and stuffy in the room.
“I hate the sound of the air conditioner at night,” says my mom.
I wonder……but does my dad?
Maybe he doesn’t give a shit. Maybe I’m projecting my own ideals onto their relationship, and casting judgment in the meantime.
If there’s one thing divorce has taught me, it’s that no one has ANY right to decide what is “right” or “wrong” for another couple. In fact, I’ve begged my family to grant me that same level of acceptance.
Happiness…success….fulfilment…..it is truly your own to define. Even if you struggle to define it.
“Did you put on sunscreen?” my mom asks.
“Yes, I did!” says my Dad.
I hear this exact conversation. Every single morning.
And it drives me nuts.
My dad, being the health nut that he is, goes out for a bike ride, or a walk, at 7:55 am, every day.
My mom, being the caring, over-protective, anxious type that she is, makes it her mission in life to ensure that no one gets sunburnt, no one forgets their keys, and no one puts mushrooms in the pasta sauce (my sister doesn’t like them).
Awwwww. How sweet, you might say.
And yes, it comes from a loving place.
But when you live with someone (day in and day out), who is trying their damnedest to bubble wrap everyone, and everything…..well…..it’s waring.
I know this.
Because for the last 17 months, I have been living with my parents.
And at 37 years old….it is pretty much the last piece of information you want to divulge to anyone.
Particularly the hot guy you go out for nachos and beer with.
“Your place, or mine?” he inquires.
(My high voice comes out in full force)
“Uuuummmmm…..let me see….maybe yours?” (please god, tell me that sounded nonchalant)
But when you leap off the cliff of life…..and you somehow find the balls to “start over”…..it is so often your parents who are there to catch you.
For me? My do-over, is divorce.
And it’s a decision that has made me a bit of an outcast. In some circles.
New beginnings are polarizing. And everyone seems to have an opinion about whether or not you’re making the “right” or “wrong” choice.
My parents? In the “wrong” choice camp. Which makes their support all the more difficult to receive (never mind how difficult it must be for them to GIVE it).
And don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful AF.
But after almost 20 years of independence….it’s….a humbling experience….to have to play by someone else’s rules. Especially when there’s an undercurrent of disappointment in the air.
“I’m in transition.” I tell people.
“My new life is….in the works.”
And there are days when those words feel true….and days when those words feel like a complete lie.
But my god. That’s “starting over” for you.
It’s a free-fall for a while. And more like a tilt-a-whirl than a roller-coaster.
But then one day, you land. And you start to find your bearings.
And the boulder you’ve been pushing, in this uphill battle to reorient your life….it actually starts moving.
And you almost don’t believe it, because well, you’ve been digging in your heels, giving everything you have, for so long. And that thing hasn’t budged.
I am now 2 weeks away from moving into my own apartment. And it scares the shit out of me.
Which is insane, because I’ve wanted it for so long.
But when the thing that’s existed only in your dreams, drops down to earth….it’s almost like….it can’t be trusted.
Movement is scary. Because, strangely, you were getting comfortable with being stuck.
And really? What I’m finding, is that “starting over” is a totally different thing than “starting.”
When you start something? Everyone is psyched for you.
You’re getting married?! You get an engagement party, a shower, a bachelorette weekend getaway, AND an over-the top wedding day!
You’re getting divorced? You get a trip to IKEA by yourself, and months of (literally!) rebuilding your life.
My mom, unsure how to support her daughter through a decision she does not support….got me 2 new frying pans. It’s….I care….but I’d rather you didn’t do this.
People love to celebrate new….but not necessarily new beginnings.
And depending on your perspective, new beginnings either scream “you fucked up” or “you’re growing.”
I have friends who are beyond psyched for me. They’re all….exclamation marks, and party gifs.
But I also have family members who are all…..good for you. Period.
Which…as a people pleaser? Kills me.
But change? It’s personal.
And if you’re gonna play the “clean slate” card (which….my god….it is anything but clean), you’ve gotta be ok with pissing some people off.
I think back to the day I moved into my parents’ place. Convinced that it would be a two….three month stay, tops.
And…..well? We all know how that turned out.
But that’s the other thing. Starting over is almost never…..wham bam thank you mam. It is full of false-starts, and exhausted “I give-ups” and second strength. It takes way longer than you think it’s gonna take. And for a long while, it feels like you’re walking in the dark, hands outstretched, not sure if you’re about to run into a wall, or an open road.
And so, as my reno’d life begins to take shape, I give my mid-air cliff jumping self a hug. Don’t worry, girl. It’ll turn out.
I am FILLED with pure fucking joy.
Even though I know. This summer? I’m gonna get a sunburn or two, and kind of wish my mom had warned me to put sunscreen on before I left home.
In this current season of life, many of us feel robbed.
Robbed of our work. Robbed of our hobbies. Robbed of our hugs. And robbed of the dream of what our apocalypse outfit would be…..realizing, it’s just pyjamas.
COVID-19 has stolen a great deal from our lives. But one of the things that has been gifted to us, is time.
I know I’m dealing with waaaayyy less go-go-go. And while for some, this void is being filled with an overindulgence in CNN and Netflix (is there a Tums for Tiger King-bloating?)….for others, it is an opportunity to reflect, and grow.
The choice is right there, up for grabs.
And depending on your perspective, this time is either a prison, or a palace.
For me? My relationship with time has always been a bit like…..trying to squeeze juice from a lemon. Determined to get every ounce of liquid gold out of that puppy.
I am efficient. And productive. And I multi-task the fuck out of cooking, podcasting, wine-ing, and homework helping.
Some days, I think my 30 minutes = someone else’s 4 hours.
Over the past few weeks, my death grip on time has loosened.
But something I’ve learned about myself, is that I have a severe hatred…..or maybe it’s an intense fear…..of wasting time.
The fear of wasting time
Sure. No one likes wasting time. Waiting in line anywhere, sucks (especially if you left your phone in the car). As does arriving to the Genius bar, after a 30 minute drive, without the laptop you were supposed to be getting fixed. Cough cough.
But for me, wasting time is excruciating. In fact, it is the hardest thing I have had to come to grips with, when becoming a parent.
“Playing” is challenging for me. And what usually ends up happening, is I force my kiddos into designing an elaborate mini-golf course. Or an obstacle race. A project. A goal.
Do not ask me to play “puppies.” For god’s sake. Do not ask.
And also, don’t expect me to fix the broken trunk on my car, anytime soon. Such a bother, and a huge waste of time. Especially when I’ve rigged up a rope that pulls it open manually. For real.
Mediocre movies make my skin crawl.
And driving 30 KM/hr around Kildonan Park makes me vomit.
But along with this newly allotted gift of time, is an awareness of my relationship to it. And a deliberate willingness to risk “wasting it.”
Why NOW is the perfect time to risk wasting time
You see, what I’ve realized, is that my extreme distaste for squandering time has actually led me to hesitate in starting new things.
There is risk involved in new endeavours. Because I can’t be certain they will pay off.
The potential for wasted time is huge.
But right now? This? It is the perfect moment to risk time, because we have been gifted with more of it than ever before. The supply is rich. So even if I do waste some of it….I’ll still have more than I normally do.
And so, in this Alice-in-Wonderland, upside down world we are living in right now, I have made it my goal to embrace the gift of time I’ve been given, in 3 ways:
1. Try new things
I want to challenge myself not to simply do more of the same. Not to simply invest in what I already know. But rather, to use this time to expand, in new ways.
Learn how to bake an apple pie, with crissy-cross lattice. Play my guitar, and write an original song. Write a hot and steamy romance novel. And learn how to embroider so I can make obscene tea towels.
2. Deliberately do things that aren’t “productive”
There are so many things out there that I cast judgment on, as time sucking wastes of time. And yet, I know deep down, these things would also breathe life into my soul.
Yoga. Slow and twisty. Reading fiction (not Dan Brown….don’t worry….I’m not that crazy). Listening to brainless podcasts, and standup comedy.
Fuel for joy. A worthy pursuit in and of itself.
3. Scratch things off the “to-do” list that don’t belong there
After years of wanting to do a deep clean of my house, but lacking the time, I discovered this week….that wasn’t the reason.
I will not be learning how to garden.
Nor will I be making jewellery.
And something that this gift of time has truly taught me, is that we can absolutely convince ourselves that a lack of time is the reason we aren’t doing things. When in reality, we simply do not want to do them. Period.
Lack of time is one of the biggest excuses people give for not working out. And while some people are drenching their living room carpets in sweat….others are still lying on the couch.
You want it, or you don’t. And right now, those priorities are being put to the test.
It’s time to be honest with myself, and cross things off my to-do list that don’t belong there.
The gambler’s trap
All of us cringe at the idea of “sunk costs” that cannot be recouped. It’s the very reason many people stay in shitty jobs. And shitty marriages. Driving shitty ass cars with broken trunks.
Once we’ve invested time and energy into something, we hesitate to drop it and back out. Because, well, we’ve come this far. Might as well keep going.
But just as the risk of starting new things has its just rewards, so too does the risk of ending things we’ve already begun, that no longer serve us.
When I quite my job as a librarian to become a fitness coach, I could have very easily lingered in guilt over the 6 years of higher-education that went into earning my bun and glasses.
But what I’ve come to learn, is that life has a funny way of bringing the puzzle pieces of your life together.
I wouldn’t be nearly as good of an instructor, without my practice as a storyteller to a group of 3-year olds.
I wouldn’t be nearly as a good of a marketer, without my practice as a wordsmith-ing essay-writing student.
Time is never truly wasted
And so, the zen master in me realizes that time is never truly wasted.
There is meaning in everything, if we allow ourselves to see it.
Risk wasting time.
Lie on the hood of your car, and do some star gazing. Just for the hell of it.
But if I’m with you, and it’s my car, you’re gonna have to be the one to pull the rope, and get the wine from the trunk.
All of a sudden, the only thing I could hear was the pounding of my own heart.
“I’m sorry. Could you say that again?,” I said.
The dentist looked at me, and smiled. Empathy? Amusement? Malevolence?
“Your son. He needs a root canal.”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
My 7-year old son. The one who once screamed at the top of his lungs when it was time to get his hair cut. The one who once put up the fight of his life when it was time to trim his nails.
“He’ll be just fine. Focus on the first step….and the first step only…..and then we’ll just explain what’s happening as we go.”
They send us home with a mini gas mask. He’s supposed to practice wearing it. Taking deep breaths. “Like Darth Vadar!” he says, with excitement.
I feel horribly guilty, knowing what I know. I struggle over the idea of not telling him every single detail of what’s gonna go down. Because hell, I’d want someone to tell ME.
But no. I’ve gotta believe that the dentist….a guy who lives his entire life as one of THE most feared human beings on the planet…..must know a thing or two about managing anxiety.
I think about my own life, and the obsession I have over planning every single move. Anticipating the next thing. Bracing for what’s coming. And breaking down my life into a series of steps.
Not only does it create overwhelm, on days when the steps seem impossible to cram in…..it also creates a habitat in which presence is starved of all nourishment.
Monday morning. Step #29. Get the kids dressed in their snow suits. Rush rush rush. Check. Let’s move on. We’ve got to get to step #30: Getting locked and loaded into the car.
Don’t even get me started on those moments when forward progress is halted….when a wrench gets thrown in the mix.
You have to pee? You have to PEE? NOW? Just pee in the snowsuit. I’ll buy you a new one.
So maybe the dentist has a point.
Too much planning can actually cause us MORE distress, because when things don’t go the way we expect them to go…..we get upset.
And so there’s a tricky balance between setting big goals, reverse engineering our success, plotting the road to our biggest dreams……and letting life unfold, simply by trusting the process.
So where is the sweet spot? And how do we get there?
For me, I like to have a clear picture of where I’m headed. A vision board. A daily journalling practice that includes making a list of “Things I Will Make Happen.”
#1 NY Times bestselling author.
Vacation home in Maui.
Trip on an airplane with the kiddos.
Spartan race champion.
But rather than obsess over the million-and-one steps that it may take to get there, I try to focus on the step I am currently taking. Today. And doing it well.
Which is haaaaarrrrrrd.
Because, damn, I love a good blueprint. And I hate being blindsided. As do most human beings. Except when we’re watching Survivor. THEN we’re on the edge of our seats, fist deep in popcorn, relishing in the drama of someone who doesn’t see it coming. Because, well, it ain’t happening to us.
But guys, trusting the process is not simply an excuse to sit back, be lazy, and let Jesus Take the Wheel (thank you, Carrie Underwood).
For me, trusting the process looks like this:
Trust = Action + Surrender
It’s about walking forward. But detaching yourself from the outcome.
It’s about creating movement. But succumbing to the path that you may end up on.
It’s about hustle. And flow. Although I’ve never seen the movie. But it sounds right.
Excellence is a matter of steps. Excel at this one. Then the next one. Then the next.
And truthfully, a huge part of excellence, is simply staying the course. Being consistent with your drive. Knowing where it is you want to go, but letting the detours happen.
Because the more we fight for control, the more resistance we create. And the more resistance we create, the more friction there is…..which slows us down.
You want to be fit and healthy?
Do the work. Day in and day out. Put your Nike’s on. And move.
Yes you’ll catch a cold. Yes there will be a wicked snow storm. Yes your son will decide he’s Picasso, and paint the living room wall. Or the cat.
But those are the moments when you need to trust the process. Take action. And surrender.
Put on your cutest workout clothes. Then crank the music, and have a dance party as you scrub the living daylights out of that wall. Then go for a quick 10 minute jog.
Flexibility is key. And it is the only way you’re ever going to get where you want to go.
One step at a time. This step. Here and now. With everything you have.
I try to put this idea into action. It is -30. It is snowing and blowing. And I am driving through downtown Winnipeg with my two children in the backseat. Traffic is moving along at a snail’s pace. But rather than fixate on how far away Grandma’s house is, we turn it all into a game.
“Green, green, green, green!” We chant as we approach an intersection.
We make it through. And we all cheer! “Wooooohoooooo!"
And so yes. The wise dentist is right. We need only focus on this moment. Putting on the mask. And breathing. Because the next moment will come soon enough. And when it does, we simply need to surrender to what is. Even if it’s kicking that same dentist in the face as he jams a needle in my son’s mouth. Come what may.
Eager anticipation is one of the best feelings in the world. And my god, there are so many things in life we relish in anticipating.
The glass of wine, freshly poured. Warm pyjamas, straight from the dryer. The start of a New Year….a new decade…..a new beginning.
But what’s fascinating about anticipation, is that, when it comes down to it……anticipation is simply storytelling. Foreshadowing. Forecasting. And our own projections into the future.
Anticipation is like a glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day. It’s evil twin? The flip side of the coin? That’d be anxiety. Which is much more like a snowball to the face in the dead of winter.
Anxiety is storytelling just the same. But with a negative plot twist. Fear runs the show. And there is a kind of…..mistrust…..of the future, created in our own minds.
Future-traipsing can be glorious and thrilling and full of excitement…..or it can be a dangerous game that sets us up for shattered expectations…..or worse yet, a state of mind that paralyzes us with inaction.
But when do we choose to linger in anticipation….and when do we choose to linger in anxiety? When do we choose heads, instead of tails….or tails instead of heads?
The human tendency to hop aboard the forethought train has served our ancestors well. Back in our caveman days, we needed to strategize our own safety, prevent against surprise sabre-tooth tiger attacks, and forage our food for the upcoming winter.
Fast forward to the era of smart phones, convenience stores, and Cheez Wiz…..and things look a little less…..life or death. Yet our brains haven’t quite caught up. And we’re still very much in self-preservation mode.
I would hedge my bets that even in this day and age, most of us choose anxiety more often than we choose eager anticipation. Some ancient instinct that refuses to unclench its grip from our minds.
And yet, “the moment before” things happen doesn't have to be a scary place. In fact, is it not equally plausible that things will go well, as it is that they go horribly wrong?
Why then, in this time and place, do we continually choose “worst case scenario” thinking? Why do our brains neeeeeeed to come up with a story at all?
Just the other day, I was at the ballet with my daughter, Clara. It was her very first time at The Nutcracker, and she was dressed to the nines in her pink tutu….high on candy canes and chocolate kisses from her Christmas stocking. On our way up to the balcony, we were handed our program, and as we flipped through it, I saw the long-winded synopsis of the ballet we were about to see.
Huh. I thought to myself. Do I read it to her, so she can follow along with the story as it unfolds…..or do I just let her experience the ballet without any preconceptions? I chose not to read it to her. And instead, I just let it all come as a surprise.
She loved every minute of it. And when it was over, as we shuffled to our car amidst the sea of little girls with big dreams to become ballerinas one day….I started to think about the ways that I try to write a synopsis of my life, before it happens…..just so I can feel a little less….caught off guard.
I started to think about the stories I tell myself, and how often they involve an evil villain, or a fall-from-grace. And I started to wonder about the idea of letting my life come more as a surprise.
All too often, I look at the present moment with a foreboding sense of fear, rather than joy. Which is, essentially, robbing me of the bliss of anticipation. What if I chose to get excited about the unknown? Like a gift I’m just about to unwrap.
A beautiful, deep, soulful romantic relationship could be just around the corner.
A book deal could be ready to knock on my front door.
A new client could be one conversation away from saying “hell yes!”
A sexy blue-eyed masterpiece of a man, sitting across from me at Starbucks, could interrupt this very sentence I’m writing, and say……”excuse me…..I couldn’t help but notice how drop dead gorgeous you are. It would kill me if I couldn’t take you out to dinner tonight.”
And Jesus. Why couldn’t it happen? In which case…..I should be PUMPED about what’s about to take place.
And so on those days when I start to sink into fear, is it not a wise choice to take a peak at the stories I’m telling myself…..and shatter the lies that cause my jaw to tighten, and my shoulders to reach for my ears?
I’m not ready. I’ve never done this before. It’s too risky.
All lies I’ve told myself before. And the kind of lies that cast a scary shadow over the future.
Calm patience. Enjoyment in the wonder. The what if. The possibility. The precipice. It’s a work in progress. And something to aim for.
And so as we round the corner on 2019, I think about all of the goals and dreams I have for the future. And I try to harness this sense of excitement that always seems to kick in at the turn of a year. Remembering that just as the years turn, so too do the days. And rather than brace for danger, I seek to choose eager anticipation. Letting life surprise me at every turn.
Confession time. I've been a naughty girl this year. And Santa knows it.
Yesterday was my third-ever Fit Fest event. An event that involves making our way from gym to gym (much like a pub crawl), discovering new and exciting ways to sweat it up.
The first bit? A rockin' good time.
The last bit? An all-out disaster.
Thanks to the annual Santa Claus parade that was making its way through downtown.
As we were all hopping in our cars to get to our final destination, Santa decided to make an appearance, waving at us all.....with a facetious grin......atop his high and mighty thrown.
With grinch-like loathing, we all gripped our steering wheels, inching our way through grid-lock traffic.
Some of us made it out alive, arriving the gym nearly an hour late. Only to realize that the bad-ass Krissy, who was supposed to kick our asses, was at a completely different location.
I swear to god, one of the iron pumping gym-goers was wearing bell-topped elf shoes, giggling away at our misfortune.
All this to say, mistakes happen.
And as much as we plan. We prepare. We over-think. Things don't always go as expected.
I see this with my son Liam, all the time. He has been gifted/cursed with the perfectionist gene. And in learning how to read, he struggles hard with his missteps and the muddled mistakes.
He cries and cries, trying to sound out the word "here."
And as much as I try to tell him, "it's ok if you make don't get it right, darling." He doesn't believe me.
It's a hard lesson to learn.
Because so often, we become paralyzed with fear over getting it wrong. And we let "I don't know how to do this" stop us in our tracks.
But guys, this is life.
Life doesn't ever go the way we plan.
Life itself is uncertain.
I mean, it's the very reason why blooper reels exist (and why they are so often the best part of any movie)! It is the very reason why America's Funniest Home Videos was such a huge success.
Shit happens. Unexpectedly. And we can sympathize with those who walk into a glass patio door. Because we all do that kind of thing, at one time or another.
And guys, I'm gonna be completely honest. After yesterday's failed event, I could feel the fear bubbling up under the surface. The temptation to walk in my front door, crawl into bed, and bawl my eyes out. I could feel the self-ridicule, and the thoughts of......everyone is going to think I'm such an imposter......a failure of a coach......a loser.
But if there's one thing I've learned, it is this: Mistakes are not a reflection of your worth.
Let me say that again.
Mistakes are not a reflection of your worth.
And so......what if we shifted our perspective on the whole "making mistakes" thing? After all.....our experience changes entirely, based on what we focus on.
What if instead of fearing uncertainty, we leaned into our mistakes, learned from them, and became stronger on the other side?
What if instead of letting "I don't know how do this" imprison us.....we let it free us?
What if we deliberately dove into experiences that we would likely fail at? What if we chose to embrace a flawed existence?
Something to work on, for sure.
Something to practice.
And something to bring awareness to.
In the meantime, I'm going to get my kids to write their letters to Santa this afternoon. I have a feeling they have a few things they'd like to say to the jolly old soul. As do I.
"You'll never reach a point in your life where everything is solved, all neatly tied up in a bow. That's the point. There's no 'final scene.' Only the ongoing adventure movie, forever unresolved." -- Jeff Foster
Life is messy. It is constantly changing. And it is completely unpredictable.
In a lot of ways, I feel like I'm often reaching for a moment when my life is finally fixed. When I've solved the puzzle. When all the chaos has finally subsided.
But this is it. The ecstasy, the agony. The joy, the pain. The boredom, the bliss.
This is life.
And I feel like it's completely the same way with fitness.
There is no finish line. And along the way, we have our wins and our losses. Our successes and our failures.
Sometimes we need to take some weight plates off. And sometimes we need to add more.
And yet we're always so hard on ourselves when we don't quite achieve true fitness enlightenment.
But is that really the point?
Can we ever pat ourselves on the back, and say "we did it!" We beat Bowser!
No. We can't. Because then Nintendo comes out with the next edition of Super Mario Bros. And you've gotta learn how to get the whistle or turn into a statue.
Sorry. I played a ton of Nintendo as a kid. My thumbs have permanent button-shaped indents.
My point is. Fitness is a way of life. And even if we think we'll finally be satisfied when we can do a clap push-up, or we an run a 7 minute mile, or our abs are a little more washboard than keg.....there will always be ups, downs, highs, lows, celebrations and disappointments.
"Getting there" is not the be all end all.
I mean come on. Have we learned nothing from incredible sex?
The joy is in the journey.
And even though we should absolutely celebrate our successes along the way, we should also recognize that the struggles are all part of it too.
Happyily ever after is for fucking fairy tales.