This morning was Monday morning, only more so.
The sky was grey… I hadn’t slept well, and my body hurt all over… I just felt old.
So, as I went for my morning swim (by habit, of course… I certainly didn’t feel like going swimming), everything felt bad.
But, as I was doing my slow lengths of warm-up, I remembered something I had learned over many hours of practice in the pool. There are techniques you can use to change how you feel about your workout. I sometimes refer to this as “lying to yourself until you feel good”, but it is really more subtle than that. The idea is to focus on one small thing at time that could be thought of as good: “My kick feels really strong today!” “Just feel that water rush by my face!” “My triceps feel really powerful today.” After a few minutes of focusing on the positive, my whole attitude can change.
I know, from many hours of training, that these techniques actually can make my workout better. So, as I labored in the pool this morning, I thought to myself I really should try it.
But… a fleeting thought went through my head…. “I don’t want to feel better… I’m enjoying wallowing in my misery!”
Unfortunately, that made me laugh, and when I stopped sputtering (it’s hard laughing while doing lengths), I already felt better. And I did utilize those mind tricks… I did have a great workout (800IM, anyone?) … and I feel better now (and hopefully will all day!)
Two other cars arrived at the pool at the same time. One pulled into a handicapped parking spot – the other into the regular parking. When the first driver got out, I recognized him as the swimmer with one artificial leg, so it wasn’t surprising to me that he was using handicapped parking. But then I saw the other driver getting out of his car. The contrast struck me as odd, since the man climbing out was Jack, who has TWO artificial legs. And here he was, using the regular parking.
But when I thought about it, I realized maybe it wasn’t so odd. Jack, even though he is on the plus side of 80, swims regularly, golfs often, plays in two bands, just recently returned from a trip to Brazil with one of the bands and was considering a trip to Haiti. It seems to me that Jack treats the loss of his legs to diabetes as an inconvenience, and not a handicap. So it isn’t surprising that he doesn’t think he needs to park in handicapped parking spot. When asked about it, he said “I want to leave the handicapped parking for someone who really needs it.”
Frankly, I don’t begrudge the other person using a handicapped spot. (Hey, take all the perks you can!) But I do admire Jack’s decision to treat the loss of his legs as an obstacle to live WITH, rather than a setback to deprive him from living a full life. And I want to take that attitude when I face difficulties – take it in stride and keep living — with enthusiasm!