I have been working at improving my life for as long as I can remember. First I wanted to improve my career path. Then I wanted to be a perfect wife/mother. Then I wanted to be … well, thing after thing after thing. I wanted more.

But, and the word ‘but’ negates everything that has gone before, but why can’t I be happy where I am? I’ve been working at self-improvement and self-awareness and continuously more and more so when do I stop and look around and notice, hell, things aren’t so bad right here?

Because, you see, things aren’t so bad right here. I’m old and that’s a bummer because inside my head I’m not. But outside my head, the part that deals with the rest of the world, that part is old. Not ancient, but no spring chicken if you get my drift. Even in spite of that, I’m healthy which is not a given even for the young.

I’m able to write well enough that people might read some of it at least some of the time. I have been doing so, with what I feel is gradual improvement over time. Some of my early histories are not quite cringe-worthy, but not exactly how I would write them today. My process for selecting topics has also improved which makes me happier in the moment.

My children turned out – well, not perfect, but well above average. At least I think so. They are responsible adults in a world where adulting is so difficult memes appear across my Facebook page on a daily basis. And both adult well. They are contributing members of society and great fathers. Really, I couldn’t ask for more.

I’m still on my starter husband but that’s really far more due to the luck of having chosen well in the first place. I had no idea what I was doing when I was 18 but that doesn’t seem to have mattered in the long run.

I’ve been obsessing about CrossFit of late because I’m so far outside my comfort zone. I hate publishing my scores because they aren’t really all that good when looked at as raw scores. But I like to look at them as grading on the curve. I know how much lower everything was when I first started and I couldn’t do any of this crap. But now I can crap all over the place, as it were.

My CrossFit experience isn’t just the Open. Today, I saw something in the WOD I had never seen before. I’m used to doing some percentage of my one rep max for the skills. But I’ve never had that be more than my actual one rep max. Today, I was to lift 102.5% of my max lift. In other words, I had to get a new one rep max and then lift it twice. I thought it was impossible. But I was willing to try because the most I could do was not lift it. But I did. Twice.

I then got a bit smartypants and tried a little bit more weight. I got my 168# lifts with what felt like a little more in the tank. The 170# number looked better to me. I tried it and got it off the ground, but couldn’t complete the lift. It was still awesome. I will get it eventually. I will even get to my goal of 175#.

And when I get to that place, I’m going to rejoice. In fact, I’m rejoicing today. I got a new max and I earned every damn pound of it. <Insert happy dance here>

But wait, there’s more. The WOD was a descending ladder 10-1 box jumps with an ascending ladder 1-10 HSPU and a single rope climb after each set because why the hell not. Dorothy Parker would be pleased.

That’s 120 reps and there was a 10 minute time cap. Any reps left uncompleted would be added to the time, one second for each rep left. I considered my options. I don’t jump onto boxes, so I did step-ups. I don’t have a HSPU so I did them off a box with some extra height added. I don’t have a rope climb so I had a sub.

I mentioned to the coach that my limiting factor is almost always my heart rate and not muscle fatigue but if I should get to the seven HSPU subs I would probably have to break them into two sets because that’s usually too many for me. But, I didn’t really have to worry about it because I probably wouldn’t get that far.

Right. I’m just getting better and better at this shit because there I was. Thirty seconds left on the clock and on the round that needed 7 HSPUs and so I did them all at once and got over to the rope for my sub and finished that, too, with a good two seconds left. Happiness is not in the future. We, or at least I, tend to look towards the next big step. I did much better than I had any reason to believe today. I am happy about that.

3e0d46189a324c05c19ab7e8b3203942

Advertisements

I only speak English. I do it quite well and have a larger than normal vocabulary, according to my sister the Kindergarten Teacher who might not be the best judge of normal adult vocabulary. Regardless, I speak English. I speak only English. I would like to learn a second language just for the sake of it, but I have no one to practice with, meaning it would just be an exercise in futility.

I was watching – really I was just listening – to a TEDx Talk and the speaker was doing a very good job in delivering his speech even though it was obvious that English was not his Mother Tongue. What he was talking about was authenticity of self and how to interact with others in a more authentic manner.

It was his opinion ego gets in the way of our connectability and we remain separate and often at a distance due to our own egos getting in the way. He was listing steps to connect with others in a better fashion.

The first rule was to know your own self better. He had a five-point list for learning more about yourself and I don’t remember the first three because I was so struck by the last two. Not that they were anything actually unique to the world of self-knowledge, but because he was a non-native English speaker.

Here are his two final points in knowing more about yourself.

4. What do you can?

5. What do you can’t?

This is not the way a native English speaker would say this. We often hear about what can you do and what can’t you do. But it sounds so much better to me this way. What do I “can” and what do I “can’t” because often these are just messages I give myself without benefit of trial and error.

Most of us know what it is we can do. Except for the people who believe they can do something that in actuality mostly sucks. I belong to a writing forum and people come and believe they can write because they are putting words down on the screen. This isn’t really what “writing” as a profession is about. There are many rules and regulations to writing and although they can be broken, one must know about them before they can be flaunted correctly. So these people come in and tell us they can write, post something awful, get a critique which they argue with, and often take their crayons and move on to a different place. The select few will listen, often with hurt feelings, and then work toward making their writing a more professional product.

Many of us believe we know what we can’t do. But the thing is, many of the things we can’t do are simply things we can’t do yet. We aren’t genetically unable to do them, we just haven’t yet mastered the task at hand. Many preschoolers can’t read. This doesn’t mean they will never read, but only that they can’t read – yet.

Many of us set out to try something new and quit before we have given ourselves a chance to see if we might turn the can’t into a can. I could delineate my time with CrossFit as a case in point. I couldn’t right up until I could. It took work and practice, but many of our can’t do that items are really part of this list.

“I can’t touch type.” “I can’t work a computer.” “I can’t …” fill in the blank. Some of our can’ts are simply due to lack of practice, some due to lack of motivation, some are due to that genetic limitation. I can’t fly. I might be able to learn to fly a plane, but I will never simply fly because humans aren’t built for that.

Many of the things on my “What do you can’t?” list are simply things I can’t do yet. Many are things I have no intention of ever doing because they don’t interest me. Learning to differentiate between the nuances of your list seems to be a lifelong issue with the list changing with time. Sometimes it changes because what was once on “can’t” has moved to your “can” list. That’s kind of cool.

1458536_444708438974793_1202928123_n

I’m on a recovery day and so it was possible to sleep in this morning. I woke up around 7.30 instead of 5.15 and I certainly can recommend not getting up at the crack of dawn. Actually, I can also recommend not getting up in the middle of the damn night which is really what 5.15 is now.

However, one of the lessons in life is learning who you are. I am the person who is good with words. You might not always know that from here, but I can be quite persuasive. Especially when it is me I’m trying to persuade and I’m trying to talk myself into something I actually want. I’m a sucker for that stuff.

I love to sit around and be a slug. I am very good at sitting and reading. I’m also pretty good at sitting and playing mindless computer games. I’m fantastic at sitting and surfing the web. I can sit for hours. And hours.

I am also a lark. I peak in the morning and it is all downhill from there. I can continue to function into the evening hours, but it isn’t my best time. I get up and am ready to go and do and be and whatever needs to happen. I loved working 7 to 3.30 shift and getting up early and out the door and being finished with my day relatively early. My work schedule for the last four years has been from 10 to 3 and only four days a week. I worked part time and liked it.

I would really have likes to start earlier and get out earlier, but now my routine with CrossFit has taken up my mornings. I go to the box, come home and get breakfast, write a blog post before I forget what I did, then get ready for work and can be there on time without rushing through any of my morning routine. So I finally learned to like not starting my day until it was half over.

A couple months ago, they hired a second office person. I saw my chance to cut back a bit on hours. I work three days a week and still go in at 10 and now leave at 4. It is just two hours less per week but I now have a four day weekend every week. This will give us more freedom to take mini-vacations like old farts are supposed to do once they are retired (and Dick is retired).

Now for the problem. I will not be working on either Thursday or Friday anymore. It was hard enough getting up in the middle of the night to go to the box on Friday and then come home and just be tired all day. Now, the same will be true for Thursday. I mean, I was tired before but it was at work so who cared? Now, on my days off, I have a choice to make.

CrossFit Summerville has classes at 5 AM, 6 AM, noon, and 4, 5, 6, and 7 PM. There is open gym from 9-10. On a couple Fridays when the partner WOD was just too much, I’ve told myself I would go to the open gym time and do something. Probably a modified and totally scaled version of the WOD. But in each instance, 9 AM came and went and I was still sitting immobile here at home. The later classes are even worse. I would be wide awake and completely able to talk myself out of going.

Every time I walk into the box, I’m challenging myself. And if I think too much about it before I go, I wimp out. It is all beyond me even now. I scale everything. I’m not supposed to say I can’t but I don’t know how else to describe the things I’m physically incapable of doing. I can’t do double unders. I can’t do a hand stand. I can’t do toes to bar because I can’t do an unassisted pull-up let alone anything else. It’s not that I’m lazy or dogging or not trying, I simply am old and feeble and can’t do those things – yet. I waited too long to start back to being a physically fit person.

I’m sure a younger person would have been able to progress much faster and be in a better place after more than a year. I believe I could have done so many years ago when I wasn’t fighting this much inertia. I’m proud of where I have gotten in the past year, but I realize without a doubt that I have much more to achieve. I’m not done yet.

So, I will set my alarm two days a week and get to the box before I wake up enough to realize what I’m doing to myself. I will walk in there half asleep and by the end of the hour be bursting with pride or busting with shame, depending on my effort level. And quite frankly, even though I know I’m not supposed to do this, depending on how I compare to the other people there who are, many of them anyway, young enough to be my kids.

I wish there was a 7 AM class as that would be perfect for me. But there isn’t and so I’m going to be at the 6 AM class and give it all I’ve got. If I were able to take a nap, I would, but I usually can’t sleep during the daylight hours (which was really hard when I worked night shift) and so I will just have to do what I need to do so that eventually I can do double unders and handstands, pull-ups and move large amounts of iron around. That is my goal. The only way to get there is to actually show up and put in the work. There is no caveat that allows for wishing makes it so.

But I wish … my schedule or my personality was a bit different. I wish I could make myself go at noon. There is no real reason why two days a week I can’t sleep in and go later. Except I know I won’t.

The only good thing about being this old is learning some stuff the hard way. I need the off day on Wednesday to recuperate from the two previous days as three days in a row is too much. I want to go to the box four days a week. I’m just going to have to figure that this is a time for me and learn to like it even if I don’t. I need to get rid of some of those honest can’ts and become the person I’m turning into.

0de2faaf279568e2e955d4ec24b3f779