September 2019


I am a CrossFitter. I’m also a Senior Citizen complete with retirement and Medicare. I’m old.

I have been doing CrossFit for seven years now. I thought, when I started, that I would just magically work hard, achieve all the things, and be able to do the workouts as written, just like all the people half my age, or even just those the same age as my kids.

This has not worked out the way I expected. I cannot do all the things. I have RXd a WOD a few times over the years, but only if they were not weighted WODs or if they were supposed to be “light and fast” and for me they were ponderous and heavy.

When I started, I didn’t really know how to scale and I would be working for much longer than anyone else if the WODs were so many rounds for time. And if they were an AMRAP, I had very few rounds and was exhausted.

I have since learned to give myself a senior discount and modify the WODs to the point where I’m not keeping everyone at the gym for hours while I try to finish what took them mere minutes.

I used to tell myself that it was easy for those other, younger people. And then I watched more closely. It wasn’t. They were working, struggling, powering through. They were drenched in sweat. They were breathing hard. They were crumpled in a heap on the floor after time was called, just like me.

CrossFit isn’t easy for anyone. It certainly isn’t easy for me, but that doesn’t make me anything special. Perhaps those who go to the Games can achieve far more than I can, but they are working exceptionally hard in order to do so.

It took me a long time to stop feeling either persecuted or unworthy of being in the same space as the other athletes. I have the same right to show up. CrossFit bills itself as good for everyone because it is endlessly scaleable. There are scaling options for every single damn thing. I use many of them.

Once I decided – and that is the key part, I had to decide – to be content with my progress even while striving to improve, I stopped being so angry at both myself and the white board. And then came the joy.

I’m never going to be the best score on the board. I still am not a fan of the white board. But I have finally let it go, knowing that I win every time my name goes up there. The numbers after my name are meaningless. I am the only 66 year old at the gym doing CrossFit. I’m best in my age group.

I’m doing the things and finally finding the joy in the simple act of doing them. My devil press today was lighter by far than what was on the board. But I did them with integrity as my scaling option was laid out. My handstand push-up came from a box. Seven years ago, I would not have been able to do either of those things and today I found them remarkably difficult and did them repeatedly anyway.

Giving myself the permission to enjoy my limited performance has actually given me the freedom to increase my limited performance. I know I’m not like anyone else at the gym, so when I can’t do what they do, it is okay. I can do all the things I’ve worked for. I would like more and so tomorrow, the alarm clock will go off, I will get up and do some yin yoga to stretch and warm up, and then head for the gym and do it all again.

Learning to be happy without having to be best has been the most difficult lesson to learn. And it took me years. I could have been a lot happier a lot sooner if I had actually learned to let go of my ego. I am currently the best version of me possible. I’m not the best person at the gym. I’m the best me I can bring to the gym. That’s really enough.

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Dorian has finally gone away. We were very lucky as the storm stayed about 50 miles out to sea and thereby diminished the land effects.

It rained and gusted for around 16 to 20 hours and in that time dropped about 3.5 inches of rain. But it did it in gusts and then in showers and the drainage could keep up with the downfall, so we never had standing water creeping up the back yard. The streets didn’t turn into rivers. The system worked.

I walked around the neighborhood this morning and saw the damage. It was minor. There were many branches and palm fronds down. There were millions of twigs and leaves. We have a small decorative fence hiding the air conditioner and garbage can and one of the panels of that fell over.

I didn’t see any shattered solar panels as I walked and I thought that was rather amazing. There were so many sticks flying around.

As I walked around, I could hear them working on the golf course. They had a chipper working grinding up fallen branches and I heard a chain saw as well. They should be back in business relatively quickly.

What I noticed was all the crepe myrtle berries on the ground. They kept crunching underfoot and I realized that birds were going to have a smaller food supply come fall.

That’s when I started to worry about the alligators. They are not usually anything I worry about except as a hope to avoid completely. But here they were, just minding their alligator business and it started to rain. And it gusted. Then it rained a little and then it rained a lot and then it rained some more and then it kept raining.

They probably didn’t know about Dorian. I mean, their internet connection is weak and all. So what does an alligator think as it rains and rains and rains. It’s not like they hate water, but it has to get rather tiring after a few hours and then more hours and then even more.

And the deer in the area. They were sheltered under swirling trees throwing leaves and twigs and even the occasional branch at them. How do they cope with these storms? I assume the birds can either hold on to lower branches and hope for the best or fly away from the storm completely. What does an eagle do with this crap?

As I walked, I worried about all the little critters who were out there in the storm. Not that I was going to invite any alligator in for shelter or anything, but I did worry about them.

The electricity is back, the mess is slight, we are lucky. Again.

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