It’s NOT a competition

I couldn’t even get through a 20 min yoga practice this AM, my mind irritated and flaming with other thoughts and inclination, my nasal cavity jammed with flem sliding slinky-dinky into my throat. I wanted to quit, even standing up and getting a drinnk for a moment, but that inner voice goaded me on to finish it. It’s like “giving up is NOT an option” and the irritation came from not doing today what I could yesterday. Obviously, I am in some race with myself.

And I see this quality in my best friend Jack, who is almost 90. A self-imposed scrutiny that emanates irritability and displeasure when feeling sinful, missing the mark set out for oneself. He makes demoralizing comments that his “memory isn’t as good as it used to be,” and at times will expel an “AH!” when his nose drips or his back creaks. Here is a body weathered two major wars, eyes pulsing through the air as a pilot, hands that volunteered as a rescue fire fighter, legs that carried children and a heart where he gives cash away on the sly to young struggling starving mothers. He has good hearing, eyesight, can walk. He amazes.

And yet, there is no loving kindness for what he HAS because he is forever measuring up to what HE lost, or declined. But perhaps it really isn’t a decline in functioning, but a transition. When I don’t run as fast or far, or bend as easy or feel as upbeat as the day before, this uncomfortable feeling sinks in. This voice of judgment and accusation. I must have done something WRONG to feel this way.

And let’s face it: we avoid what makes us uncomfortable. “Giving Up”

But that’s exactly what I needed, but didn’t do.

Competition shreds our differences…especially when it is between me and me. It demands conformity and same-ness…and that’s not truly living.

Can you relate?

I wanted to share this with you real quick: I am discovering a little joy of snapping pictures lately: This is Brugge, Belgium. Breathtaking (more on that later!)

Brugge 20092

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5 thoughts on “It’s NOT a competition

  1. Sometimes you just get in a funk, and can’t do the same things you did before. Transitions in life can really take a toll on you and your body, but it’s natural and it’s something we always come out of. I CAN related, completely. You just gotta keep on trecking and trust that eventually things will get better, and you will be back to yourself. Just give yourself time to transition.

  2. such a relatable post! i definitely get in the mindset where “i WILL NOT give up” even though that would be the best option. sometimes it just so hard to find that fine line between pushing yourself constructively and pushing yourself too far

  3. Those are great photos!

    Sometimes it really is just time to quit. Maybe it is better to say, stop for now. Try again later. Sometimes pushing yourself in certain situations can bring destruction to the mind and/or body and so stopping is best. But we are human, competition is certianly on everyone’s mind.

  4. I have a very good friend who is in her late sixties and has been fighting Lymphoma for years. She spends every Friday night in the hospital. But, she goes to her Zumba class as soon as she is released every Saturday. She also attends Zumba and walks during the week. At first glance, she looks like healthy, fit woman. In fact, I had no idea that she was battling an illness for the first year that I knew her!! She lives life the same way that she would if she was not ill. What an inspiration. I have always wanted to push myself to be better. But, I have learned that I am only competing against myself. I can never be the fastest, strongest, and smartest. If I compare myself to others, there will always be someone just a little better.

  5. I love that your best friend is 90 years old! I see so few intergenerational friendships or even opportunities for them, and we need more of that. Older people have so much wisdom to share, but because of the way the nuclear family has evolved over the past century, so much of it goes to waste since there’s no one around to transmit it to.

    You may want to check out The Art of Quitting: When Enough Is Enough by Evan Harris. It’s all about how quitting can be about empowerment instead of failure and how to know when it’s a sign of the former as opposed to the latter.

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