I like to talk about going to Patagonia this coming November, and the training and planning that is necessary for the trip. Among the requirements for the trip is a fairly strenuous training schedule, about which I occasionally feel either extremely optimistic or completely lackadaisical.
In the instances when I feel very optimistic, I do things like Google “yoga body” or “21% body fat.” When I feel very lackadaisical, I spend my time giving people advice on interior decorating or learning how to read an electrical blueprint.
On one of my more optimistic days, I was driving home from work, considering my amazing plans for working out over the next week, and the perfect body I was going to achieve, when a though struck me.
I am not special.
I know, that sounds really depressing. But the process that led to this realization was extremely encouraging to me.
My sister once told me, "You have a big head.”
“Thank you,” I said, not at all in a grateful way.
“I just mean,” she said, trying to improve the situation, “That I always thought you were heavy, but you’re just big-boned.”
“Thank you?” I said again, still not impressed. Although I knew this was an epiphanic moment for my sister, I accepted the fact that I, and some other members in my family, have big heads, so I wasn’t likely to reach a really exceptional state of fitness.
Driving home from work, I suddenly realized that I am not special. That is, I don’t have some predilection to heaviness any more than any CrossFit champion does. CrossFit gurus simply have a fantastic level of fitness because they spend most of their time getting fit. Current CrossFit Champion Katrin Daviosdottir started training in CrossFit nine years before she won the Championship title.
While Katrin was doing pull-ups, I was writing prose. I have written four books (none of which you will find published at this date), but Katrin, to my knowledge, has written none. The trade-off of becoming a CrossFit champion rather than a writer has led her to where she is, and led me to where I am. (If you haven’t read Mark Manson’s article on the Disease of More, now is a great time to do so. Or rather, right after you finish reading this article.)
Realizing that I’m not special has led me to the understanding that I have the ability to do anything I want. Not tomorrow, per se. But over time. I am able to climb a mountain. I am able to complete an ultra marathon. And I am even able to achieve that perfect body…if I’m willing to put in the years to do so.