First is the worst, right?
I’ve been banging on about starting a blog for weeks, and months and years. But at some point, I guess all the excuses dry up and you’re one of those people that just talks about doing things. With this enviable life in the future, unchallenged. Its fear that gets in the way, of course but, regardless of my reasons for not starting, I’ve been quite clear for some time about what this would all be about should it ever get off the ground.
My father-in-law was sharing his knowledge with my daughter. Sage, grandfatherly advice. Delivered earnestly, abrasively, with love and some urgency. I was kicked back in the chair, deciding what to take on and what to discard. “Be average” he advised. “Don’t try to be bigger than you are. Don’t think your better than you are”. In an age when everyone tries to be more, this jangled a little. Why would we encourage someone to be less than. Shouldn’t there be constant striving to be the best? Rather than challenge this though, I decided to sit with it. Think on it. Let it land. Basically, as the girl child summarised to me after reading these first few line, its about not letting ego get the better of us. So the call to be average, is not a call to be less than, more a call to be. And accept what is.
These reflections on average led to thinking about Mediocrity. At about the same time, I read an article about embracing mediocrity in sport and training. I rediscovered my enthusiasm for moving my body in frenetic ways in recent years. Like the stereotypical 40 something, I have approached this with some gusto, trying to somehow make up for lost time and atone for years spent in carbocoma. This article really resonated with me. I’ve been going hard, trying to be better week on week. Training while sick. Training when injured. Prioritising gym and exercise over sleep, family and work in general. This would be absolutely fine as an elite athlete, but as a fat and forty hedonist, this seemed to not be as congruent as it might be. I realised how whacked I was when I started comparing myself negatively to Valerie Adams. Yup, my new to exercise self, thought that I was failing if I couldn’t shift iron like a three times gold winning Olympian, three quarters of my age. Everybody was a competitor, and often I came up short.
It was timely to come across an article to celebrate mediocrity. Eschew specialisation. Basically an article that encouraged people to do a whole heap of shit. For fun. That put generalists on a pedestal to aspire to.
I got to thinking that maybe this year could be about moving my body in new and interesting ways, without worrying about the outcome. As long as I maintained some degree of strength as some kind of spongey bone protection, then I could pretty much try anything. Where could I end up if fear and completion got out of my way
There’s a lot to be said for staying a student as you move through life. There’s even research to show that staying focused on learning new skills as you age keeps brain chemistry “young.” The fountain of youth may not just be exercise but an ever-childlike exploration of our universe through movement.
Where, I’ve ended up so far this year is tramping Abel Tasman with my family. A huge feat for a self confessed enemy of walking. I average 5000 steps a day so it’s fair to say that I was pretty stuffed after the first couple of days. There’s a lot of me to take up the hills, and I lot to get bogged in the sand. Yoga also called, next time I might let that call go to voicemail, but it was an exercise with sitting with negative thoughts and just doing it for the hell of it.
What’s next is the beach photo shoot. In my togs. All fat and proud. I’m looking forward to a year of adventures in mediocrity.