The Ride of Your Life Starts Today
The other day, as we were on our way to get Mexican fare at our favorite local restaurant, I saw my ideal self running. She was with a group of other runners leaving the CrossFit building. She was medium height, like me. She had dark hair, like me. And she was the kind of fit I fantasize about: tight body, nice muscle definition (but not bulging), and a steady running pace—completely unlike my gasping-for-air-while trying-to-run pace.
This lady was my fitness goal(s) in attainable action. I even commented to my husband that she had my dream body—the perfect body—and in my mind I figured I’d return to working on that dream body either tomorrow or next Monday or any other day next week, so long as I could start after consuming the Margarita, basket of chips, cheese dip, and shrimp burrito covered in more cheese sauce that I had in mind for dinner.
In a random twist of fate, that runner with the perfect body showed up at our restaurant, AND the hostess seated her in a booth diagonally across from us. I was already working on my Margarita and the chips and dip and the shrimp burrito when she sat down. I noticed she didn’t touch the chips that were placed on her table. I saw the waitress bring her water with lemon, and I overheard her ask what type of oil they cook with. I don’t know what she ordered, but her self-determination was fascinating to me and it also reminded me where I was lacking.
The thoughts about why I was lacking and why she had attained my dream life started immediately.
I told myself that she most definitely was at a more convenient time in her life to focus on herself and her goals, which was why she seemed calm and in control of her choices. She obviously didn’t have the problems I have. In fact, she didn’t have any problems. Her life, like her body, was flawless.
Because her life was flawless, it was also more manageable, freeing her time so that she could exercise. She probably also had time to cook nutritious meals, and read multiple books, and write multiple books, too.
I told myself that I, too, would have the time to exercise and the will power to eat right if I was in that perfect place where she was—the crème de la crème spot of life. In that crème de la crème spot everything is easy and your hopes and dreams materialize without much effort. I mean, look at her. She was probably born with that body.
I too was going to get to this fantastical, perfect life place someday, and when I got there, I would have a body and willpower just like hers.
Now keep in mind that I didn’t know anything about this lady. I had never met her or even seen her before this day. I didn’t know her name, her age, her relationship status (though she was dining with a young gentleman who also appeared to be in workout attire), her job status, if she had children, or if her life was as balanced as I imagined. I only knew that she had the muscle definition and body composition I wanted … and the running stamina I wanted … and the will power in one given moment to order water with lemon and avoid the chips that I wanted. Still, seeing those few actions weren’t enough for me to make the assumptions about the ease of her life and cause for her appearance that I did.
It’s not about perfect, it’s about fighting for things that matter.
I don’t know the motivator that led to that lady’s lean physique and healthy mindset. Her motivator could have been a coach, or challenge, or wedding date, or series of good habits that compounded over time. OR, the conditions of her motivator could have been horrible and yet powerful enough to wipe out her hope for any fantastical tomorrow. So horrible and powerful, in fact, that she decided to make the most of today.
Tomorrow is created in the actions of today.
I really want that crème de la crème place to exist in life. I really believe I could achieve my body goals if life would just cooperate and give me those perfect conditions, but I know the truth is that the fictional life I was creating for this lady is unrealistic, and that those perfect conditions don’t exist.
I can wish for that fantastical place where problems don’t exist.
I can dream about that fantastical place where everything is easy.
I can even keep placing all my hopes and desires in that one-day fantastical place, but until I show up and do the work to make those hopes and desires happen, then that is exactly what they will continue to be—hopes and desires.
Still, knowing that truth, even accepting that truth, doesn’t motivate me to attain those body goals and nutrition habits, because beating myself up and comparing my journey to someone else’s has never really inspired me to take bold and confident action. If anything, beating myself up and comparing my journey to someone else’s makes me want to swim in a bowl of cheese dip and say to hell with even trying.
Tomorrow is created in the grace we give ourselves and others today, so that we feel inspired to take those bold and uncomfortable actions.
What I really need—what we all really need to inspire us to take action today— is to love ourselves the way I love that lady that I don’t even know.
We all need grace. Grace to take things at our own pace. Grace to recognize when a season of our life is hard and our motivation and willpower are suffering. Grace to slide into a bowl of cheese dip and a basket of tortilla chips one day, then get up and walk (maybe even attempt to run) the next. Grace to prioritize ourselves and our goals. Grace to make the most of each and every single day of our lives.
That lady (or anyone we compare ourselves to) also needs grace. Grace for showing us what is truly attainable when we take those bold and uncomfortable actions. Grace for modeling what it will take to attain our hopes and dreams. Grace for inspiring us to work on our fitness, nutrition, stamina, determination, confidence, boundaries—ourselves.
I’m extending grace to you, grace to myself, grace to that unknown runner— so that we can take bold and uncomfortable actions, so we don’t miss out on the experience, the people, the connections, the life that is waiting for us—right here in this very moment—today.
Whatever your goals are, whatever you want your life to look like, I hope you will give yourself enough grace to start living into that life today.
So, here’s what I’m going to do to make sure I’m taking some action today, while continuing to give myself grace. I’m lacing up my shoes and tuning into one of those podcasts with the inspirational hosts I adore, and walking. Maybe I’ll run at some point, but right now I’m going to make every effort to be consistent and walk. It’s not about killing myself. It’s about finding something I love enough to return to day after day.
I’m also writing every day. I’ve been doing this anyway, but now I’m changing my mindset around word counts and perfect chapters, and allowing this draft to take shape in the organic way drafts seem to come into being when we show up to the page and do the work day after day.
And, my biggest, boldest, and most uncomfortable step is that I’m going to share uncropped, unfiltered, unmanicured, uncurated pictures, from my perfectly imperfect life, in my Instagram and Facebook stories. (Just in case you believed I was fit and put together like that lady, or that my life was somehow perfect.)
I’d love to hear about your hopes and dreams and the actions you are taking to create your fantastical tomorrow, today. I’d also love to see your perfectly uncropped, unfiltered, unmanicured, uncurated pictures.