A few weeks ago I was hiking up a mountain. Along the way I passed an older woman that was using a cane to help her along the way. On my way back down I came upon her again, not too far from where I had previously passed her. She said hello and acted embarrassed, saying how good I was doing and that she wished she had been fit when she was younger.
I looked her straight in the eyes, smiled, and said “You’re doing amazing, keep going. You’re still passing everyone on the couch.” She beamed, thanked me, and I felt like we shared this cosmic moment that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I felt so completely blessed in that moment to encourage someone, and strongly believed that the encouragement I was able to give gave her the push to keep going.
I left that moment feeling really inspired. When I headed up that hill, I hadn’t expected to share such a moment with a complete stranger.
Since then, I’ve spent some extra time observing people online and in real life when it comes to health, wellness, and fitness.
Why do we all get so discouraged? Why do we quit? Why are we harder on ourselves than anyone else?
In an age of blogs, Tumblr, and Pinterest, it’s easy to look at someone else’s life and feel like we’re not good enough. Other people seem to pass us by on our way up that mountain, and all we can think about is how badly we are doing by comparison.
I struggle with this as well. I see all these people on Pinterest and blogs doing all these amazing activities, crafts, meals, and such at home with their kids, and I’m over just hoping that at some point I get to shower today. #truth
I see these fitness people with toned bodies that are able to spend hours at the gym, and find myself frustrated that I can sometimes only get 30 minutes in before I’m bombarded with “Mom, I need this. Mom, I want this. Mom, he spilt his milk everywhere. Mom, I dropped your tea cup and broke it. Mom, can we go outside? Mom, can we do this? Mom, can we watch this? Mom, Mom, Mom!”
It’s easy to feel that discouragement, especially when we compare our life to the highlights of someone else’s that we see on Facebook.
But then I have to pause and look back. I went from a size 16 to a 4. I’m a single Mom doing the cooking, the cleaning, the homeschooling, the fitness, the shopping, the errands, and running a business all on my own. I’m making healthy choices for my kids. Am I perfect? Do we have perfect days…. ever? H to the No. What is this perfect day you speak of? I must learn more!
Look at where you’ve been. Look at where you could be. Are you still sitting on the couch (use the couch and the mountain for a metaphor for where you’ve been – come on, just roll with me here), or are you farther along up whatever your mountain is?
Some people are at the bottom of the mountain, the middle, or the top. Some go slower, and some go faster. But we’re all on our own personal journey.
You’ve gotta make your life your own. For me, that means making the hard work an adventure. I’ve turned my fitness into fun that I can do with the kids. I’ve created workouts that I do with my kids, I have a workout routine for when I clean house, and have workouts we do when we hit the trail together. We hit a flat spot on the trail? It’s time to drop and do push-ups. A cool rock on the trail? Let me use that to work out those arms.
Life is about being you, being adventurous, and continuing on your journey without judgment. And who judges us the most? Our own damn selves. We look at what we are doing compared to everyone else, and diminish our value and it has got to stop.
Be you. Do your journey. Keep going, and no more discouragement based on where you aren’t. Look at where you are, where you used to be, and just keep going. And make it fun in the process, because life is dismal without fun and joy.
You’re still passing your old self. You’re doing great. Keep going.