I’m reeling this morning.
Cancer just sucked the life out of one of my oldest and most beloved friends. I got the news today that his 15-round slugfest with the Big C ended not with a bang, but with a light coma and a gentle snuffing out of this man’s utterly remarkable life force. It’s ironic. Much easier for me to imagine his chute not opening, or his belay failing, or his dhow foundering. But then, to his absolute credit, he would have lived through each of those scenarios to regale us with the details about how he had stared Death down… and won.
I knew Jay best when we were immortal—invincible post-high school bucks bent on shucking the world that was our oyster. Our paths diverged in our mid-20s: Jay took the road less traveled. Less traveled? Hell, he orienteered, trekked, surveyed, bulldozed and mapped his own road. But early on, I had the fortune of living, fishing, hitchhiking, being bit by wanderlust with him, and benefitting from his infectious sense of adventure, while longing for some of his devil-may-care persona to inform my own.
And that’s where I find myself this morning.
As I maneuver the shoals of Jay’s death, I’m struck by wanting to keep it real—with my clients, with my family and friends, with my life. What does keeping it real look like from this fitness professional’s point of view?
Ask Yourself Two Questions
From a fitness perspective, this is what I believe keeps it real:
1. Are you happy?
If you can honestly answer yes, then you are doing something right: living life fully—keep it up and thank your magnificent body for supporting you.
If your answer is no, do something about it. Period. Get rid of the excuses. Let go of feeling guilty. No shame; it’s life after all and more of an extraordinary process than a product. At the very least, you owe it to yourself, your magnificent body to examine what may be contributing to your not being happy. We are here for such a brief time—do everything that is in your power to seek, find and embrace being happy. No one else will do it for you. And—contrary to what magazines, movies and the media suggest—it won’t magically come to you.
Next, ask yourself:
2. Does your current level of fitness support the things you want to do in your life?
If you can honestly answer that, yes, you are able to participate in life fully in all the ways you’d like, good for you! Keep it up. Keep on dancing. How does it get any better?
If your current level of fitness is keeping you from doing things that you long to do, take a hard look at the root(s) of your limitations. What do you want to do and what is holding you back? Can you do something about it? Then do something: Get help. Make a commitment to yourself. Make a plan and begin. Today. No one else is going to do it for you. And—see above—it won’t magically happen to you.
If, however, the root(s) of your limitations is beyond anything you can do to alter your situation, then blessings to you and may you embrace and enjoy the time you have left on this lovely planet.
Live Life Boldly
All the rest is pretty much window dressing. Getting wrapped around the axle because you gained three pounds last week, or you are getting wrinkles, or if only you had six-pack abs, or you need to be a size (fill in the blank), or you used to eat anything you wanted without getting fat, or you used to be a wrestler-runner-basketball player (fill in the blank), but now you can’t…
Get over it.
We—all of us—would do well to appreciate what we have and are able to do, or make the changes to get there. Pretty simple, really.
For me, as I remember Jay’s life and the adventures we shared, I resolve to redouble my commitment to living life fully and boldly. And to keep it real. May you also.