Happiness, pain, strife, and glory are all easily accessible when changing your life. Work is the key essence of any change, but how does it occur. I have been thinking recently, as I look in the mirror, seeing a different person than I have ever seen in the past, and wonder time and time again what it was that sparked that change. I’ve talked about it before, “the click”, a series of events that lead up to an overall change, which is certainly how this progression took place, but recently I have been thinking a lot about the emotional pieces of where I am now. We describe an emotion or a feeling as this indescribable, overtaking consumption within ourselves. When it is happiness, it feels overwhelming in a way that is happy, when it is pain, your body feels like it is rejecting itself. Over the last year, I have certainly felt both of these things, and the in between, but today, I felt them as one. After my workout today, which kicked my ass, I sat at the ground, hyperventilating, and a variety of thoughts soared through my head. Some were negative; “Can I keep up this kind of intensity, that hurts, that makes me lose my breath, that makes me feel like I am always just out of reach of great form” or some other nitpicking realization. Some of them were positive: “I can’t believe I did that, I just did 135 burpees and 135 overhead squats with 40 lbs. of weight for the first time”. Victory and challenge, components of progress.
As I sat there, sweat running down my face, into my eyes and mouth, onto the floor, I looked at myself from across the room, in the mirror. Maybe it was transcendant, or maybe it was the lack of oxygen to my brain, but I truly felt happy in this moment. I think there are different happy emotions. Normally, I would say I am a pretty happy person, I feel like I have a good life, good friends, I have food and am healthy, I feel grateful and satisfied with life. I feel happy that I lose a bunch of weight, and for the most part happy with where I am in my life. But this was different, it felt almost peaceful, which was ironic given my heart rate. Also, in that moment, the doubt of the negative thoughts “can I keep this up”, faded away. I don’t know what the future holds, and every time I step back onto the gym floor, challenging myself, I wonder if I will can keep it up for the rest of my life.
I remember awhile back, when I had the realization that losing the weight was not the end of my journey. I knew before then that I would have to be careful about food for the rest of my life, but I remember the moments where I thought, “I’m going to have to do this for the rest of my life to be healthy”, and at that time, it felt daunting. It haunted me, the thought that I would have to push myself to my limits constantly in order to maintain this new gift I had given to myself. It didn’t seem fair : eat less, work more, just to keep going towards your goal, but then, somewhere along the way, it became enjoyable. The thought of challenging myself, overcoming the obstacle, became the new way to create something for myself that was positive. This revelation, all of these moments, are the reason why no one can truly change another person. Support is indefinitely helpful, but, nothing is going to sink in without that turning point in your own head, given your own experience, with your own accomplishments, defeats, and emotions in your hand.
Taking my position in time right now for granted would be a little more than dangerous. Realizing this never ends is important, but you need to focus on the future and what is ahead of you at the same time. I am ever so grateful for CrossFit because it gives me that knowledge that I can keep going. Even when every workout feels like the hardest one of my life, I take away so much more than skill and sweat from the gym; I take away my future with me, knowing that I will forge on, that the happiness I felt today is only a reflection of my future, of what I have inside of me, and what I have yet to discover about myself.
It only takes a moment for a lifetime of work to sink in, but when it does, you have it for the rest of your whole life.