Monday, December 21, 2009

There May Be No Prize, But Still...

Sometimes it seems easier to give up. I gave a gold star today to a man whose job has been extremely challenging. He is trying to open something that was supposed to be opened a long time ago but one or another thing keeps getting in the way, keeps holding up the opening even though the ribbon cutting is so far back it's hard to remember, even though the champagne cork flew in the air like it was a done deal and it was far, far from it.

He looked at me this morning when I asked him about it with such true concern in his eyes.

"I'm trying..." he said. It's all he can do. I gave him a big gold star and he thanked me profusely.

"Now," he said, "I have to try harder!"

I laughed. "That's the hope..."

A lot of people are counting on him, blaming him, questioning him. It is not easy. But, still, he gets up every morning and makes the effort despite knowing that the reward, the end result, may still be a fast-moving target.

Sometimes, certainly, it would be easier to give up. I had a conversation about this with a friend today, about trying in general, with women, with sex. He is almost no longer trying.

"It's been a while," he said, "and, somehow, now, it seems to hard to get back into it, it's like it doesn't seem worth it..."

I nodded. "It's like with anything, you can let yourself get out of the habit, and then you let it go." It is why I try to excercise every day. When, like this past weekend, a few days go by, I begin to panic, like I will let it go for too long like I have in the past and, then, I will then find it far easier not to do anything, to fall back into my lazy ways, to make excuses for why I do not work out, even though I know I feel so much better when I do.

Relationships are just like that. Easy to get into bad habits of not looking for anyone at all if you're single or letting the relationship you're in slip if you are actually in one. It is always just a case of putting in the time, effort and focus necessary to make something work.

"Focus..." my friend said. "But there are so many things to focus on..."

"That's the thing, though," I said. "Somehow, like in yoga, if we can learn to focus on a single thing without thinking about it too much, putting your mind to it in an almost unconscious way, then we can block out everything else, we can really concentrate and accomplish something."

I gave him the example of my own morning workout, when I donned my pink boxing gloves and hit the heavy bag with relish, moving around the bag to the beat of Michael Jackson, hitting out controlled but calm with my eyes closed, letting my body move almost without my trying. It was amazing, cathartic, necessary to getting through the holiday madness.

A man came up to me at the gym, leaned in and smiled and said, "Are you training to be a middle-weight champion?"

I laughed. "Yes," I said, "How am I doing?"

He didn't respond, just smiled and walked away. Odds are I won't be any sort of champion, my efforts will only be appreciated, really, by me, possibly by a few onlookers who can get their aggression out vicariously through my punches. But, hey, trying just for yourself is the best kind of selfish. In the end, it will benefit everyone around you, even if it takes longer than you think it should.

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