I was 19 or 20 years old. A newlywed. My husband and I had just joined a gym. There we were working out. There was only one problem. It was that time of the month for me, and I was feeling pretty tired. My husband, being the focused strength-driven and inspiring kind of guy that he is, tried hard to keep me lifting weight by yelling whatever he did that day in his gym voice to keep me from giving up. The more I said, “I can’t,” the more he yelled it. So. Being the newlywed couple that we were, we decided to just ignore each other in a way. He felt frustrated because in his eyes I wasn’t trying hard enough. And I felt frustrated because he didn’t understand me.
We then moved our workout to the cardio section. He got on one bike and I got on another. There was one problem. At minute two (literally) into the exercise I found myself feeling weak. I remember a girl on the treadmill to my left. She looked like she had it altogether. And Joe was to my right. As I pedaled, I felt like my legs got weaker and weaker. I didn’t want to say anything to Joe and I most definitely didn’t want to look like a loser to the girl next to me. So. I had a brilliant idea (NOT.) I thought if I could just speed up my pedaling every time I felt weak, I could just keep going and noone would notice my struggle. That way I wouldn’t look like an idiot either.
There was no way that I could keep going. The more I tried the “brilliant” idea I thought I had, the more my husband (who was not speaking to me) on my right and the girl on my left looked at me funny. I was determined to keep it up. And I did. Maybe for just a maximum of two more minutes when suddenly the sounds in the room started to fade.
I was about to pass out. Still trying to fake it and act like I had it altogether, I turned to my husband and with the little bit of strength I had left I said, “When I say go, go.” My lips felt like they were in slow motion. In fact, so did everything else around me. He looked at me and asked, “What?” as he kept pedaling. That’s when I repeated, “When I say go, go.” At that point, he realized I was desperate.
We immediately walked out of the gym to splash some water on my face and talk. We both were no longer upset. And my loving husband was apologetic and concerned. Little did I know that there was a trainer who was probably watching us the whole time.
It is a classic and funny story in our family which still makes us laugh every time it’s told.
My point? Competition will get us nowhere. It will cause us to look at others and lose focus on our own journeys. Good for those who can walk for hours on a treadmill. And good for those who can lift heavy. And good for those who seem like they are doing everything right and getting results at whatever they are doing.
You are you. I am me. We need to get to the point that no matter what we’re surrounded with or who we’re surrounded by, we can’t take our eyes off our own journey. Because our journey will have a story and song of its own.