Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Entry #10 - Remembering the Past

-- In this bright future you can't forget your past.
-- Bob Marley

Throughout this week I've been flooded with memories of the past. In some cases, they were fond memories of days gone by that are suddenly becoming a modern reality. In other cases, they were memories of where I was and where I never want to return. I find it interesting how the past can be motivating both as a goal and as a memory of what to avoid.

Last Saturday, I was watching the Husker football game with my family. During halftime, my nephews, my friend Brad and I all went outside to throw the ball around. In the past, I would go outside with them and sit in a chair to watch them play. I told myself that it was fun to sit there and watch them have fun. And on some levels, it was. I love my nephews and it is always great to see them playing and having a good time. However, I was also dying inside because I wasn't able to play WITH them. I desperately wanted to be one of the people running around, laughing, playing, and enjoying all the fun. Instead, I was a spectator. I was trapped in a prison of my own making. I was forced to look out from between the bars watch the world pass me by. I laughed and cheered and tried to be a part of it from the sidelines. However, the common theme of my life at that weight is that I laugh and cheer so that I don't cry. I delude myself into believing that I am a part of it so that I don't get even more depressed about my circumstance.

It is a depressing history, but it adds importance to the victory. On this day, I was able to play with them. I wasn't NFL material, but I did get to throw the ball and be a part of the fun. After the second half of the game, we went back outside. This time, my dad joined us. Again, I was a part of it! I was playing along with them. At one point, Mike had Jake covered like a blanket and Brad turned his back on me, so I ran. Ok, this was overly optimistic on my part because my 40 yard dash time is roughly three hours. However, it was more about showing that I could run. Needless to say, Brad caught me after about a yard or two. :)

Aside from the simple positive that I could participate, I experienced two other positives related to this event. The first is that I could finally be a positive example for my nephews. They may never think of it this way, but I was able to show them that with hard work a person can improve their circumstance. Instead of being a bastion of laziness and sloth, I was a person who had managed to improve his health. I don't know if I can ever impress upon them the magnitude of how hard it is to be overweight. But maybe, I can show them how much happier a healthy lifestyle makes me. Maybe I can show them that active Kevin is a lot more fun than lazy Kevin. If nothing else, my nephew who is a TV and video game addict was able to realize how much fun playing outside with everyone could be. Perhaps he will learn that he doesn't have to give up those other diversions completely, but the addition of the active pastimes (sports, walking, jogging, etc) can give him a much happier, healthier life.

-- Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
-- Albert Schweitzer

The second positive nearly brought me to tears. I didn't think about it until several hours after we stopped playing. I realized that the fun I was having with my family during the Husker game was not without precedent. I have extremely fond memories of going to Lincoln for the Husker game. Some days, I actually got to go to the game. Other days, Dad would take someone else. In either case, we ended up at my grandmother's house (Mamo to those who know her). Nearly every time, we would go in Mamo's backyard to play football. Usually, it was an opportunity for my brother to send me on pass patterns into the nearby pine trees. Naturally, he wouldn't throw the ball until after a tree limb had clotheslined me. :) Despite this, I loved every moment of it. I may be romanticizing it a bit, but I remember really enjoying this time. Now, some 15-25 years later, I am able to enjoy this activity again. How did I let myself go so wrong? I lament the years I've wasted because of my weight. But at the same time, I rejoice in the positive strides I am making towards a new lifestyle where these things are once again possible.

-- Fond memory brings the light of other days around me.
-- Thomas More

Memories of my past floated to the surface again today at bootcamp. This whole week, I have been pressing myself harder in my workouts. I have been pleasantly sore in new and different ways after each workout. It lets me know that I have done good work. As I was doing my best impersonation of a jog at tonight's bootcamp, I suddenly had a flashback to my first workouts with Marty. I remembered that some of those first workouts were just him talking to me as I tried to walk the length of the gym and back. I remember how hard that was for me to do. Before I'd even reached the opposite side of the gym, I would be hurting in my legs and back. My brain would be trying to talk my body into completing this simplest of tasks. Now, I am jogging back and forth as part of my workout. I am participating in nearly all the activities. I am able to see how close I am to participating in everything they do. I see how close I am to being able to not just walk, but run. So many of the things I had never dared to dream possible are beginning to seem attainable. It makes me believe I can do it. It motivates me to continue.

My past reminds me of why I am doing this. It motivates me to continue so I don't relive the dark days of my past. However, it also motivates me to be able to relive the happy moments of my past that have long been denied me by my own actions (or lack of action). How do I express in words what this means to me? So many phrases are returning to my vocabulary. "I can't" becomes "I can". "I won't" becomes "I will". "Nah, I don't want to" become "Sure, I will". How is ANY temptation worth switching those phrases back? I can't believe how far I've come. I can't believe what I am able to do. Oddly, I can believe in my potential for the future. And that is an incredible feeling.

-- Powerful Dreams Inspire Powerful Action.
-- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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