Last week I celebrated my 38th birthday!
My wife surprised me with a morning coffee date complete with some of my favorite humans! It was AWESOME.
At one point of the morning, we were chatting about my recent weight vest workout and the conversation leads my man Caleb to ask, “so what’s it for?”. He wasn’t asking about the vest, or current program or type of workouts I was doing, which most often is the question I get asked. He was referring to the larger question of “why”.
I am unsure whether my response at the time was adequate or not. Yet, after reflecting on his question several things came to mind. Here are a few of my “whys”..
My life was a mess as a young adult. I was never the most structured dude in my teen years. Though my parents provided a roof and meals, there were many pieces of life advice or structure that were just never taught or that took root in me. After leaving the military, which provides all the structure for living, I had to fend for myself with no skills or idea of how to build a life for myself. I fell SUPER hard. It took a very LONG time to understand what things I needed to put into my life that could provide me with structure. Working out was one of those things.
I want to acquire what I admire. I grew up in a military family. I grew up around mens men. One of my hero’s early on was Popeye. A hardcore warrior. Jacked, tatted and protector/provider of the woman of his dreams. I am a romantic at heart like that and as a man, I respect and value those things. With the core of my soul I loath weak men because for a long time I was one. I smash myself in the gym to destroy every possibility of that old man ever existing while simultaneously building myself into the man that I admire.
I vividly remember one particular day after several weeks in a hospital bed recovering from chest surgery. I’d lost about 30lbs and had been zonked out from morphine for about 3 weeks. I mustered the strength to sit myself up and made an attempt to get to the bathroom some 10 feet away. I tried to stand and fell on my face. I can still feel the cold of that linoleum floor pressed against my cheek. I had to learn to walk again.. Later, I was told by numerous doctors over the course of the next couple years how I couldn’t be active or do this or that anymore. The worst part of it all, I allowed myself to believe them. I felt like my life was over. The truth is that it wasn’t.
It has taken me years to get to the place I am now, a long road for sure. But when I show up in that GYMSHAUS, the place I built with my own hands, to smash workouts with those same hands, it’s a special feeling like nothing else. By the end of most workouts, I am pacing around the inside of that box, high off a good pump, sweat and tears dripping from my face, just overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. That time, that effort is an offering to myself and to God for the second chance of life that he gave me. It is such profound appreciation. I enter the world of my day walking taller, proud of myself for showing up for me.