Yesterday, I had a one hour wait in my car with my teenage daughter, between her school ending and allotted time slot for dancing. She had some school work to finish, and I was looking forward to spending some time reading my book. It was only about fifteen minutes after we had parked that I was able to pick it up, because of course there is the ”catch up on her day” while she eats first.
Before I opened it, I first scanned the street, double checking our safety (because that is how life is lived here), and a man a little further down the road caught my eye.
And I struggled to concentrate after that, reading only a few lines before needing to look up and watch him for a bit.
Not because he was menacing. And not because he was attractive either 😛
He had his phone in his hand, and was clearly following some form of workout on it. He would jog a short distance, then jog back to his spot, then do three sets of eight of some form of cardio exercise. Then he’d take a deep breath in and out, and repeat the whole cycle – each repetition of the cardio changing as he progressed.
What struck me was this :
He was a slightly overweight man, who appeared to me to be somewhere in his fifties.
And he was not very good at what he was doing.
But he was still doing it… and on a public street too!
(I have to add that I have a LOT of admiration for ‘overweight, untoned’ people who exercise in public. I always look at them and think, ”good for you! I should be doing that! Keep your head held high – respect!”)
My daughter saw me watching, and told me not to stare. I told her, ”I can’t help it. I should be doing that!” She replied, ”then go do it…. but not here, please! All the dancers and parents will see you, and that’s just embarrassing!” And I laughed out loud!
I tried very hard to prevent him from seeing me watching, but about halfway through his workout, I found myself staring at him as he jogged back up the road to his spot without really thinking anything, and we locked eyes. He gave me a small smile, and lifted his hand to say hi, before turning his attention back to his phone to do his cardio.
Knowing I was watching changed nothing – he didn’t suddenly improve on the exercise, or get an impressive second wind and jog a bit faster…. he continued on exactly the same as before. He knew I was watching, but he didn’t stop! Sometimes, even though we’re in public, we only really get uncomfortable when we catch someone watching us. If the roles had been reversed, I would have stopped.
And the thought that came to mind was, ”This guy has it right! What other people think of him is none of his business! He is doing this for himself, and is focused on the task at hand, probably knowing that the more he does it, the better he’ll get at it.”
A couple of minutes before my daughter went into the studio, I watched him finish off a small stretching routine, chug down some water, and walk back into his house. I was surprised to find that, for a moment, I felt some joy and satisfaction on his behalf! I know… I’m a weirdo 😛
Unfortunately I was brought up with far too many limiting beliefs, and a lot of negativity about me personally, and I still find myself trying to unpack a lot even now.
And it’s hard. There are daily battles (some come hourly), and I win some, and I lose some. And I think it happens that way to most of us.
But I still believe that the most important thing is not in the losing, or the winning… but the trying. Yes, we need to celebrate the wins. But sometimes I think we lost sight of the fact that we should also be celebrating the ‘TRY’S’.
One of my try’s is to ‘stop listening to the voice in your head that has told you for years that you can’t because what will people think!’
Now… please don’t get me wrong…. I am not saying that we should just do or say what we please because we don’t care what anyone thinks – because that sometimes becomes an excuse for us to behave badly. You can’t, for example, intentionally insult someone and have the attitude, ”Yes, I went there and I don’t care what you think, because this is me.”
Our ‘not caring what other people think’ should never be used as an excuse for us to be rude, disrespectful or hurtful. It should not make us insensitive or cause harm to others, whether they deserve it or not.
But I DO think that sometimes we need to just dance like no one is watching… and if we catch someone watching? Well, we should just carry on dancing.
Yes, I know it’s hard. But we can try 😉
Here’s to trying, winning, and sometimes even losing. Because if we’re open to it, there’s usually a lesson in the losing 😉 Have a great day, everyone!