No matter how much you love something, there are parts of it that you not only don’t love, but actively dislike or even hate. This is why the advice to do what you love and you will never work a day in your life is complete bullshit. Most of my working career was spent in nursing and I loved it. I hated working holidays and I hated call, but I loved my job. I was a teacher for three years. I was not so fond of making lesson plans or filling out report cards. I was a secretary for six years and there were many annoying tiny tasks that irked me and felt completely like work and were unlovable in the extreme. I still liked my job.

I’ve been married for 46 years and still love both him and it. And yet, there are things that just drive me crazy. I wouldn’t cook a real meal every single damn day if there wasn’t a man (or children) in the house to eat it. I don’t care that much. I have been a mother for over 40 years and I can’t say I have ever been fond of sick children or whiny children or sick, whiny children. Overall, I’ve loved it. But there were always moments along the way where I didn’t.

I’ve been writing for years now, even paid for some of it. And yet, I hate to type. I enjoy the process of writing and I enjoy the learning part, but the actually typing part is not on my list of things I love to do.

Today, I am a gym rat, a CrossFitter, a nutcase. I can’t think of one thing that makes me delighted when I walk into the gym. I’m not really good at any of it. I am much better than when I started, to be sure. But there is nothing that I look at and think “this will be easy” and then really have it be easy. Or look and think that it is something I’m really, really good at.

None of it is easy. I’m really too old for this nonsense. I should knit. That’s what the old lady at Sun City told me and she is probably right. But I crochet and enjoy that when I’m not at the gym. I also enjoy the gym when I’m not at the gym. I enjoy having been at the gym. I enjoy being able to do all the things I can do at the gym. I just don’t really enjoy the actual part of doing them. That’s really hard work.

Cherry picking workouts isn’t going to help me or any other gym rat or CrossFitter. When the WOD goes up, I figure out how to scale. I am now extremely good at figuring out how to scale. I know it isn’t just a matter of lowering the weights, but sometimes lowering the reps or even choosing a different movement altogether. I can sub out ring rows for pull-ups or I can use a band for the pull-ups. Or do jumping pull-ups. There are always options.

When there is too much cardio and my heart rate is going to be too much of an issue, I know there are things I must do to mitigate the effects of aging and trying to do this crap that is above my pay grade. I walk half the distance. I lower the meters rowed. I do fewer calories on the assault bike.

No matter what the workout it, I’m going to have to do something so I can actually manage to do it. But I show up anyway, tamp down my ego (which was the most difficult part to learn about CrossFit) and make the best of what is always for me, a bad situation. Nothing is easy. Nothing is even doable as written. I must always and forever make changes to accommodate my feeble self and what I can and cannot do. That’s the way it is.

I know it is hard. I know there are so many other ways to spend each day. I also know that I’m thrilled with myself and my effort when I finish even my scaled or very scaled versions of this stuff. If it was really easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge and it wouldn’t be fun at all. I can’t say I ever have fun during a WOD, but I always have fun after, knowing I did that thing, in some way, shape, or form. That’s pretty awesome for anyone and especially awesome for an old fart like me.

When athletes don’t show up because they don’t like the workout, it is self-defeating rather than self-preserving. How good can you feel about yourself when you show up only for the things that are easy or that you enjoy? Do you really live the rest of your life like that? Do you go to work and then just ignore the icky parts of the job you really love? How soon does it take for you to get fired?

The way to improve is to do the things that are hard. The more you work at something, the better you get at it. And while you may never like call or working holidays or sick and whiny kids, you will know that those are just the things that made saving lives and conquering disease or raising people into successful adults so precious.

You will never love all you do. But if you can love most of it, you win. And if you practice at the parts you don’t love so much now, you will love more of it later. This is true even for something as worthless, useless, and intimidating as double unders. I got 80 of them on Tuesday.

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Wall balls are not my favorite, but then nothing else is either. 

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