I have a confession to make. It’s one of those things that if the 17-year-old version of myself heard, he’d kick my ass. However, it is also the reason that I know I would be able to mop the floor with that dumb-ass kid. Anywho, here it is … I work out.
Specifically, I do CrossFit. These workouts are very high intensity for a relatively short period of time. Also, everyday is a different workout that usually involves lifting heavy objects, doing pullups, running around the building, or doing a squat. I like this because I feel confident that I can successfully run away from the (fill in your most despised authority group here). I wonder if Eddie Snowden did any CrossFit training prior to his current predicament? Regardless, I’m a good person to have on your zombie apocalypse team.
One of the unofficial taglines of CrossFit is “I don’t stop when I’m tired. I stop when I’m finished.” I know this is some stereotypical gym bullsh*t, but after doing “The Murph” workout (yes, they name the workouts … ugh), which consists of running one mile, doing 100 pullups, 200 pushups, 300 situps, and then running another mile, you start to respect yourself at the end of it all. It has helped to push my physical limits, which in turn has allowed me to build mental endurance.
That 17-year-old I once was, also had both his physical and mental limits tested. I had broken my back. No … for real, I broke the L5-S1 disc in my lower back. Pieces were scattered all over the place. After more than a year of struggling through the pain, the doctors finally decided I wasn’t going to heal on my own. I actually couldn’t stand up straight. So I had my first surgery. It took a month to recover and another six months of physical therapy before I was able to feel relatively healthy again. This experience (along with a host of other physical problems) helped me to do two things. The first is realizing that if you don’t commit suicide, you have only three routes to take in life. The second is that I have built a tolerance to all things painful.
These lessons have transferred to my work life. As a web and graphic designer, I’ve learned that working with some clients can be painful. This is probably the main reason why so many designers get out of design. Sometimes our professional advice doesn’t matter because everybody thinks they are a designer. Perhaps in the future I’ll be able to seek people who trust my creative skills. Unfortunately, considering that I can’t even afford health insurance right now, I can’t be too picky.
If it weren’t for those pesky bills and this strange value system we’ve created, I think I’d be doing okay. I’m in a situation that doesn’t allow me to stop working with clients simply because they suck. I need the mental endurance to stay focused on what I’m passionate about. I need the emotional endurance to not do to my clients what the younger version of myself would do to my clients. I need the physical endurance to continue working without burning out. So, I keep calm and “Murph” on.
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