It would be so easy to quit. Quitting takes zero effort. I could quit CrossFit and yoga and everything would stop aching and hurting.

While on Sistercation, I noticed one day that nothing hurt. Nothing. My calves weren’t aching. My IT band went back to unnoticeable. I didn’t have trouble with my lats or triceps or any particular part of my body. My everything was pain free. No strain. No ouchiness.

In addition to this pain free status, I could still hold my balance, pick up crap, move freely and without injury, and do all the things I couldn’t do easily five years ago. My body still held all the benefits of CrossFit and yoga without all the actual effort of doing anything.

I came home and got back into my CrossFit and yoga routine. And the intermittent strains and aches and pains returned.

I just had a massage yesterday and Jose worked really hard to get rid of the built up accumulation of my active lifestyle. I really hurt my shoulder/scapula a couple weeks ago with an overhead carry WOD. It’s finally fixed.

Then last night was my regular yin yoga class and we did lots of deep stretches with props (most of the session was with bolsters and it was really lovely). In yin yoga, the idea is to sink into poses so that the connective tissue and fascia and all the tightness have time to release and relax and the musculoskeletal system can achieve previous flexibility and whatnot. It isn’t like vinyasa or flow yoga.

Today’s CrossFit WOD had kettlebell swings and toes to bar, which I sub out as knees to elbows(ish). There were also goblet squats with the kettlebell. And so, right now, my hands are on fire and my quads and lats are letting me know I did a bunch of work.

When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t have done anything I did today. My kettlebell swings were done with lighter weight, I couldn’t squat below parallel, I couldn’t raise my knees to even my waist. I was unable to do the things I did today – not with ease or panache or grace or anything, but did them nonetheless.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars on CrossFit over the years, not counting clothing or equipment or protein powder or any of that stuff, but just on membership. And I still can’t do a pull-up or HSPU. I can’t climb a rope and I hope I never do. I’m really paranoid about falling from that height and breaking my hip. I’m an old woman and Grandma never recovered from her broken hip.

So it is my own fault I don’t climb ropes. It’s also my own fault I don’t have a pull-up or HSPU or any of the other things I complain about. I’ve not earned them. Paying dues isn’t a magic formula for success. You actually have to do the work to get the results. Certainly my age is a factor in all this, but so is my attitude. I have to take responsibility for my failures. Which allows me to take credit for all my successes – so it works out.

There are things I do outside the gym that when I stop to think about it, are absolutely amazing. My balance is so much stronger, my strength is much greater, my ability to do many of the things Little Old Ladies can’t do is simply awesome.

So, even though it is sometimes tempting to quit and return to slugdom, I’ve worked too hard to get to where I am right now. It certainly wouldn’t take five years to get back to taking every jar into the other room to be opened or carrying in only one or two bags of groceries at a time.

It’s isn’t a daily reward anymore. I don’t make leaps and bounds of improvement on a weekly basis. I can’t see the incremental tiny growth, but looking back I can see the results.

It’s like aging. I don’t feel any older than I did yesterday. Aging is constant and incremental. I am certainly older than I was five years ago and I know this when looking back. Each moment brings me closer to my next birthday, a marker we need to remind ourselves that time moves on.

Some days it seems like I’ve put in a lot of effort for not much gain – until I look back and see exactly how far it is I’ve come. Quitting is seductive because it is monumentally easy. And quite frankly, if I could quit and remain right here, I probably would. But quitting is going to make me slide back down the mountain and I’ve worked so hard to get here that I do believe I will just have to keep going, strained IT band and all.

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Adult to child: Just do your best.
Adult to child: Is this really your best?
Child to adult, hesitantly: Yes.

Just do your best. We say this to kids all the time. It’s onerous. How many times as adults do we not do our best? Can you really NOT cook a better meal than the ones you have been preparing all week? When was the last time you really cleaned the house instead of just getting the surfaces? How much television have you watched instead of [fill in blank]? Is your career path on course? How many times did you check social media at work this week? Is that really your best?

We do our best on occasion. But not all the time. It would be exhausting. I make decent meals much of the time, but other times I honestly don’t feel like it. We don’t have to have gourmet food three times a day.

The house is reasonably clean. The laundry is done often enough. We aren’t going to have the health department come in and condemn the place. But it isn’t spotless and probably never was.

Life is imperfect. Doing one’s best all the time is perfection and we are not capable of perfection. I’m not sure it should even be a goal. If everyone were perfect, whatever that might mean, we would all be the same. It is our imperfections which make us unique individuals. I’m odd in this place and even weirder in that one and when you sum up all the ways in which I miss the mark, it creates me.

When I CrossFit, I’m not the best. I’m often not even anywhere close to my own best. I’m tired and cranky and the WOD contains crap I struggle with. But by struggling in my own crappy manner time and again, by listening to the coach who points out the errors in my form, I can improve to something better. But I will never get to best, at least not consistently because that would be perfection and … humans aren’t perfect.

When I do yoga, I strive to get myself tied into the correct knot and because I do yin, I then try to hold the pose and melt into it. Sometimes this is simply impossible and sometimes it is merely a struggle. But because I’ve been doing this for months, my poses look more like they are approaching the way the masters says to contort oneself. But in yoga, acceptance is more important than prescription.

I’ve been meditating. My mind is far less chaotic and I can focus on my breath for longer and longer periods. There was a time when I couldn’t even sit still for a few minutes. I can now. It isn’t the best, but it is better.

I rarely have the strength or stamina to do my best. But I can often do enough. Perfection is unattainable. But enough can be enough. If you let it.

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I’m nearly done with my 28 days of guided meditation. Each day has had a positive affirmation to help center the mind when it starts to wander off in any and all directions. I’ve been able to sit still and keep my mind tethered closer as the days have gone by.

I want to continue the practice of meditation after the four weeks is up. I know I will need some anchor other than just my breath, although that helps as well. I’ve looked for sites that have a list of positive affirmations and I think they are all a bit too much for me. I am not perfect and I never have been. I don’t always choose the good thing to do. I have a list of faults and failings a mile long, and then some. The positive affirmations have made me cringe as I know what I’m chanting to myself is an outright lie.

Because of this, I decided to write some of my own positive affirmations. Things I can say to myself that are true and hold me anchored to the world as it.

  1. Life is messy and chaotic. Embrace the chaos.
  2. There is no certainty so there is always hope.
  3. Kindness is a superpower. You can always be kind.
  4. Coffee exists.
  5. Beauty is there if you look.
  6. I am not responsible for everything.
  7. Sadness is as fleeting as happiness.
  8. Dandelions are really wildflowers.
  9. Cool showers on hot days are affordable luxuries.
  10. Lily of the valley smells divine.
  11. Music exists.
  12. Mom was right. Be nice. You will sleep better.
  13. No one is perfect – not even me – as it should be.
  14. Crying is release.
  15. Chocolate exists.
  16. Clean sheets are a delight.
  17. There is only one “best” of anything and everything. I’m ok.
  18. Hot showers on cold mornings are an affordable luxury.
  19. Plans are theory. Life is practice.
  20. I am a hot mess, like everyone else.
  21. Creativity abounds.
  22. There is only one “worst” of anything and everything. I’m ok.
  23. Trying counts for something.
  24. There are many more things to discover.
  25. It’s all right to be unsure.

That was a short list of things that I’m grateful are true. They might not be positive affirmations in the sense that I’m not lying to myself about how perfect I am and how perfect life is and how perfect anything is. They are reasons why life is good and it would help me to remember them. I’m sure I can come up with some more of these in another month.

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The internet has become so enhanced it is barely functioning for me. It is all made to leave me feeling like I am “normal” and nothing is to upset me. Algorithms are used everywhere to “enhance” my experience to the point where my experience is the same with or without the internet.

Facebook is determined to let me see like-minded things even though my friends are far from like-minded. It must be evident somewhere that I’m not interested in a bland, one-dimensional existence. Some of my friends are very liberal; some are very conservative. Some of my friends are very religious; some of my friends are very agnostic. Some of my friends are Americans; some of my friends live around the globe. I don’t choose to live in a “only like me” world.

But Facebook wants my experience to be “better” by offering me more of whatever it is I seem like to their algorithms. Apparently I’m a CrossFit coffee addict with a love of sarcasm. That’s true, but I’m also many other things and am not upset by ideas outside my own thinking. In fact, I seek them out. A difference of opinion helps me either broaden my own or clarify my stance. Both are admirable things to do.

Netflix is on my smart TV and it “helps” me by listing all the various types of shows I might like. Even though I made a watch list of shows I would like, those don’t just pop up any more. Instead I get a line saying “Since you watched this” and it will show me similar shows. A line for each and every damn thing I’ve clicked on, even if it was by mistake and I watched all of ten seconds before getting out of there. The shows I would like to see are hidden somewhere down the list or off the chart or somewhere unfindable. It’s very difficult to move from watching a mystery to a documentary to a comedy. If I like one type, dammit, I will like that forevermore. Did they mishear Poe’s Raven?

You Tube just upgraded their site. I get a lot of recommendations to watch crap I’m not interested in. Instead of the newest things for the channels I’ve subscribed to, I get a list of shit from weeks to months to years ago, depending on how old the channel is. They are using some algorithm that makes me see, what I assume are the most popular videos from that channel. So, in all likelihood, something I’ve already seen.

Algorithms are doing their best to make my life uniform, bland, and without thinking or expanding my ideas at all. They want me to see and hear what I’ve already seen and heard.

Amazon loves to show me ads with things I’ve already purchased, just in case anyone in their right mind need several $150 heat presses or 47 fancy ass toothbrushes. I already bought that crap. I’m not going to be buying it over and over and if, perchance, I want to buy something again, you guys save my list of what I’ve already bought. Why show them to me in ads? Or, conversely, if I’ve ever clicked through an ad in interest and then opted to click away, that same ad shows up over and over and over and over and over, just in case I might really want to buy what I didn’t want to buy before.

Staples used to track my every move and when I ordered supplies at work, which were things I had no use for at home, it would show up in my ads for months here at home. So, I just bought 5,000 sheets of high end thick very white paper, and your advertisement wants me to buy more? Really? Why aren’t you making an algorithm that precludes the things I’ve just bought for at least so many weeks or months? Isn’t that more reasonable?

Cookies are supposed to make my experience better by allowing things to show up that I might like. Instead, they are limiting my experience by selecting to keep new things from me.

I must go now and buy a spice jar holder. Wait, my kitchen has a whole drawer designed specifically for spices. And I just clicked on that plastic insert thing to figure out how it would work for someone else. I’m not interested. I will never be interested. Why won’t the algorithms learn this?

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I have been in a tailspin. CrossFit is hard – for everyone. And for most of the CrossFitters out there, there is some goat, some odd thing that is particularly difficult. Most of the run of the mill people who dare to put it all out there are dealing with some sort of limitation.

I know a guy who has been to the games three times. He works really hard and is amazing. I know CrossFitters who are young enough to be my grandchildren and they can whiz past me like I’m standing still. In fact, because most of the people I work out with are young enough to be my children, they all whiz past me like I’m standing still.

Inside my head, I’m still 35 instead of being the mother of two adults both older than that. Inside my head I’m capable and don’t have either a cardiologist or a retinologist or any specialty doctors at all. Inside my head I can still do things just like all the other athletes I work out with over and over again.

But then, outside my head I’m old and feeble and have both a cardiologist and a retinologist and grandchildren and receive a pension and get daily mail telling me how to register for Medicare. I’m old and I’m not getting any younger.

The reality of my life and the dreams inside my head are not matching. And I’m not really at all happy about that.

It’s been five years. I’ve been at this for five long, grueling years. I’ve dripped sweat and frozen my ass off. I’ve been bruised and pulled muscles and hardly been able to move for two to three days. I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. I’ve done a few “Get a pull-up in six weeks” programs, running them for months and I still can’t do a pull-up. Inside my head is someone shouting all the things I can’t do. Even after five years of showing up consistently and really working hard I have this long list of failure.

It’s enough to make me cranky. Okay. Crankier.

Today, I made a list of all the things I can do that I couldn’t do five years ago. I didn’t even mention learning things like how exactly one does a clean and jerk or a snatch, the proper way to grip the bar and float under it or how to do any of the Olympic lifts themselves.

My list has twenty things on it from ass to grass squats (I couldn’t even get down to a 20” box when I began) to lunging without a cane (as I needed five years ago). I have weights on my weight for all the lifts (with a full snatch still looking horrible no matter how light I try to make it, but I actually can manage it – sorta).

I have trouble celebrating my accomplishments because they seem so meager. I do this crap and it is always a lighter weight or fewer reps or some modification because I’m an old, feeble woman.

I don’t ever think about how many people can’t do what I do because I’m surrounded by people who not only can, but whiz past me like I’m standing still. It is disheartening to work so hard and never feel good enough. (I’m the only person who has ever mentioned I might not be good enough.) I have no idea how to give myself the permission to scale back and still consider what I’ve done to be a success. I don’t know how to be grateful for all the hard work paying off and the ability to actually manage, in some fashion, to get out there four to five times a week.

I’m astounded each time someone says anything positive to me because all I ever see is what still isn’t there. I wish I knew how to stop that.

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I have been struggling with CrossFit of late. Each and every WOD defeats me before I even walk into the box. I can’t do them. Ever.

It’s been five years since I began this nonsense. When I started, I was in really bad shape. I could do nothing at all. Well, I could walk around and I could cry a lot, but that’s pretty much a list of my accomplishments. It’s all scalable and I kept showing up and I worked through strains and bruises and aches and pains.

I don’t know what I expected exactly, but at some point within five years, I really thought I would be adequate. I really thought that by now, I would be doing things as written. I would be able to do the weights and manage the moves. I looked at all the things that tell me how to get a pull-up in just six weeks and I’ve done them for months at a time. I still can’t do a pull-up.

I can’t even really do a decent push-up. Or a handstand, which leaves a handstand push-up out of the question. I can’t do the weights as written. Hell, I can’t even run. I can’t do anything. And I’m defeated. Every single Olympic weightlifting move is minimal weights on the bar, laughable weights.

Maybe it’s just this one area that’s a mess. But wait, no, there’s more.

Although I’ve been doing yoga consistently for less than a year, I still can’t do any of that shit, either. I can’t manage to get my lead leg anywhere close to parallel to the front edge of the mat when in pigeon pose. My knees don’t work in child pose. Anything one legged has me being a wall sucker since I don’t have any balance at all. My warrior pose looks like a field of wheat blowing around in a tornado.

I’ve been trying to meditate. I can sit still for minutes on end. My mind, however, it around the globe and time travels to past and future rather than staying in the present moment. I focus on my breath and in the other part of my mind I wonder about anything else at all, both mundane and inconsequential. I drag my thoughts back to my breath only to have them running off into some other direction. I sit still while galloping across the universe unable to stay present in the here and now.

Maybe I should look to other areas of my life for success. I made four new shirts yesterday. It wasn’t entirely successful. I colored yesterday and no matter how fine the point on my pencils are, I can’t manage to stay inside the lines, a task we all learned in kindergarten. My culinary skills are such that we had a roasted chicken from Harris Teeter yesterday for dinner.

I’ve lived here for more than a decade and I do have some “successful” acquaintances, but even after all this time in this space, I don’t have a single friend. There is no one to go out for coffee or go shopping with. I don’t talk about those things because I don’t do those things. I’m isolated in a neighborhood of over 800 homes.

There is a chance today of a world renown event. Today is Solar Eclipse Day. There is rain in the forecast.

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There are a lot of things that scare me. Most of them don’t even exist. They are in my head, haunting and taunting and making me question my ability to be an effective adult. Anxiety is pervasive. I can turn even the best of days into a catastrophe without even batting an eyelash. It’s a skill. Not a very useful one, but honed to perfection.

I watched a TED talk recently where this guy said we hallucinate ourselves into existence. What our brains tell us becomes our version of reality. Our brains don’t see or smell or taste or do anything other than process electrical impulses into something the past has shown us is usually pretty much how reality works.

I’m unsure why my brain believes the world is out to get me, but it tells me often that I am not up to standard. I’m failing. I not only didn’t succeed, I outright lost. It is in a near constant state of panic, trying to control every eventually in a dynamic and ever-changing world.

My brain lies to me. And then my intellect tries to counter those lies with some simple truths. Things like pointing out that the world has never yet killed me. I live in a world of fear and doubt, projecting onto myself criticisms that never materialize.

I’ve been trying some daily guided meditations and the day I had to tell myself I was “enough” was terrifying. Enough of what? How is this measured? By whom? I’ve been disappointing people my entire life. I never once brought home a report card filled with nothing but A+. I didn’t go to med school. I never have been the prefect wife or mother. I’ve made mistakes here, there, and everywhere. How can any of this be enough?

And that’s where we fall apart. We want perfection. Intellectually, I know this is impossible. I don’t expect anyone else to be perfect. I would like it if it ever happened, but so far, we are all just humans with frailties and flaws and fear. We want to be accepted even being these things and we know how often we find dissatisfaction with the imperfections of life.

Learning to remain calm and thinking instead of reacting will help with this. I’m trying to get a better handle on this. The acceptance of imperfection is not an easy task for me, but if I could master it, things would likely go much more smoothly.

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