Saturday, January 26, 2013
I joined a gym recently. So far I have been a total of three times in two weeks. I do not know how long it's been since I've really physically exercised, I guess since I moved to Boston so over a year ago? That's a long time to be a bum, especially for me considering I once worked out the mornings before high school in the fall to get ready for winter wrestling season.
I put an enormous amount of energy into wrestling. 3 hour practices after school daily will take alot out of you, not to mention going to wrestling meets and tournaments every single weekend in the winter. That's alot of time spent wrestling, working out and being physical. I was in the best shape of my life, but then, in high school, you have so much free time. You don't have to worry about anything except dumb kid stuff. You can spend 25 hours a week into training. I don't regret it, not at all. In fact, I miss it, I miss having that intensity, having something that brutally rigorous in my life. A workout I was devoted to every single day of the season. Wrestling made me work harder than I thought possible, give more than I thought I had to give and for that, I will always be thankful. That's a lesson few people learn, I think. That you always have more to give, you can always do at least one more push up, or sit up, or lap, or sprint, or suicide run. You really can give 110% but only because we limit ourselves before our bodies do. In wrestling, we were forced to give all of what we had, 100%, and then give more. That's when you realize how you fool yourself all the time, you tell yourself you've gone as hard as you can, you've done as much as you can do, when, in reality, you really could do more. It helped on the mat, when you were down 5 points and only had 30 seconds left of the match. You don't get down on yourself and think you can't win, you realize what you need to do. Escape, take down, let up, take down, put him to his back, to win.
Regardless, after putting so much time and effort into a sport for so long, I think I was kind of burnt out when I went to college. I used weak excuses not to try out for lacrosse and even talked myself out of joining the wrestling club which is something I do regret, now. It was too easy not to do it, to be lazy. I wanted that free time that I hadn't had in high school. I finally got around to playing rugby and am glad I did. Talk about an intense sport, it is one of the most brutal. I would go to practice once or twice a week and give it my all and more, like I used to do. But not like in high school. I don't know. I just couldn't muster up the same devotion, the same intensity, but it was close. Running an 80 minute game exhausted me like wrestling used to, and was a hell of a lot of fun.
But anyways, I came to Boston and haven't even gone for a run in over a year. That's why I finally decided to join a gym with my girlfriend. It's been fun each time, picking up weights like the good old days back in high school. Working on my chest, my biceps, triceps, etc. Waking up the next two days with my body sore as hell and loving every second of it even as it hurts. Reminds me of a day after a wrestling or a rugby tournament. Can barely move from the ache and pains but laughing at myself because of it.
It hurts. In fact I'm still in pain from a workout I did three days ago. I feel exhausted, like I was beaten with a stick. Its as if somebody stabbed my biceps with tiny little daggers and left them in there.
Why do this? Why do we put ourselves through torment and pain? Why do we go for the Tough Mudder or the Warrior Dash, or anything else? Why do we make the choice to feel pain. When you have the option to feel pain or not, you would think you would choose not, wouldn't you? Yet human beings time and time again do things that are dangerous and agonizing. We rip our muscles over and over to make them stronger. We run ourselves ragged to get healthy.
I think it's the challenge. We love to struggle and to overcome difficulty, regardless of the situation or context. It gives us that feeling of winning, of beating something or someone, even if that someone is ourselves.
I remember that feeling from wrestling. It was the most pure form of that feeling, there was no team that helped you on the mat, you did everything yourself. If you lost, it was your fault, nobody elses. You didn't work hard enough, you didn't lift enough weights to get strong enough, you didn't spend enough time in practice...but when you won, it was fantastic. You alone overcame another human being whose sole purpose was to stop you, yet you won.
We love the challenge and the risk, whether it's physical or mental. It reminds us we're alive, that we have a strength within us and when you realize 'I can do this', and it becomes 'I did do this.' It's a great feeling and the aches and soreness, the pain merely reminds us of what we did.
So if you're feeling bored or like there's too many hours in the day (you're crazy if you think that), then join a gym. Workout for an hour, go for a run. Workout your body until you're gasping for breath and it hurts. It will feel good after, trust me. Eventually.
Man, my arms are still killing me.