Monday, August 31, 2009
I used to body build in my early 20's. At that time in my life I felt compelled to sculpt and shape my form into something that I thought a partner would like. I put a lot of work into it and found that no matter how well toned my muscles were I was still unhappy and unsatisfied. There was always someone else who looked better. For a while I would work out harder. Then I realized that I was obsessed with it.
At that moment I came to understand something. This is a concept that I revisited when watching an episode of Smallville yesterday. The character of Cloe Sullivan said, "Expectations are supposed to drive you to do more with your life, not stop you from living it." Immediately what came to my mind was my body building days. I was spending more time working on my body than I was actually socializing. I was extremely focused and wouldn't "visit" at the gym. Then I dropped the gym and worked out at home because too many people were way too chatty at the gym and it was screwing up my mojo. Yes, I was obsessed. And when I realized that I had become obsessed I immediately stopped working out. I took a long break from it, sold all my equipment and then, much later, slowly went back into it with a totally different attitude. Yes, I had to get some equipment again, but this time I was going at it with ease and more of a zen perspective. Later, once I started having my children in my life, I no longer had the luxury of time to work out, so frankly in comparison my body went to pot. But I am much happier. No more six pack and my biceps aren't as sculpted (that is my gentle way of saying "somewhat flabby in comparison"), but I have joy in my life that I could never achieve when I was driving myself so hard that I wasn't living life fully.
The purpose of life, I have discovered, is to live your life fully. I don't want my epitaph to read, "Had a great body because he was such a dedicated body builder." I want it to read something more to the effect of, "Loved many and was loved by many."