For the majority of my life, I’ve shunned anything and everything active. My parents didn’t have much interest in putting me or either of my sisters in sports. Combined with the fact I was “too cool” for competitions and too uncoordinated for most sports, and you can see why. So at the tender age of 30, why did I start being active? Why did I join a soccer team, sign up for races and triathlons, and start training for a half-marathon?
Admittedly, I didn’t start my newly active life with a lot of enthusiasm. I entered a gym with a haphazard workout plan cobbled together from perusing Pinterest with a glass of wine in my hand. Of course, I tried a juice cleanse but didn’t have the discipline to last more than a few days. I tried P90X, and
threw my back out got bored with the routine after a month. But I kept trying new and different things.
I realized I didn’t have an excuse to not work on myself. There was nothing in my life that completely overwhelmed any of my spare time – of which I had plenty. My job had typical hours, I was financially comfortable and unlike others my age, the only small creature that depended on me was 18 years old and regularly pooped outside her litter box.
I spent most of my adult life trying to prove my worth to others – in college it was my professors, after I graduated it was potential employers. But with those phases of my life finished, there was no one else to impress.
For the athletes reading this, I may earn your scorn or ire for saying this; but I don’t desire greatness nor do I shoot for the stars. I’m perfectly content to be mediocre. However, as I got older I realized I wanted something different; I wanted to impress myself. So I kept trying, despite the failures and setbacks.
I started with running. For most people, their natural reaction towards anything painful would be to run as far away and as fast as possible. But I decided to start running towards it. Without music and just my thoughts – the same dark and ugly thoughts that have plagued me my entire life. I placed one foot in front of the other and forced myself to really hear what the cruel voice in my head would say. It was the same voice that called me names, called me a quitter and called me weak. With every step I took and every mile I conquered, the voice got quieter and quieter.
The day I chose to become more active was the day I decided to take a proactive stand in caring for my well-being, mentally and physically. The reason I bike, run and row is to show my own self what I can accomplish.
Very recently (this past Tuesday), I was in a serious accident, involving a car slamming into my bike on a training ride. Helmet cracked open, windshield smashed, bike totalled, my body battered and bruised, and a concussion to boot; even in the lowest points of my depression, I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt worse than I do right now. Yet I already know once I’m healed up, I’m going to climb back on and push harder and further, for me.
Though others might argue, I still don’t consider myself an athlete. I’m not drinking the “be better” kool-aid, posting inspirational quotes about finding myself on my runs. Athletics and sports are now merely a facet of my personality. One that I never realized I would enjoy so much.
– by Sachieko Gandawali