The Best Part

21 Sep

crater lake

Last weekend I did something I had been wanting to do for almost 7 years: I went to Crater Lake. For those of you who don’t live in Oregon, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, formed at the top of a volcano, and it’s absolutely breathtaking. I guess I had imagined driving around the rim, talking photos from the air-conditioned comfort of a running car, watching other people do whatever it is that other people do.

What I hadn’t imagined was actually getting out of the car, walking around, climbing up on rocks and tree stumps to get the best views. I hadn’t imagined actually BEING at Crater Lake, only, I dunno, seeing it, like some sort of real-life post card.

But when I spent time there last weekend, I found myself fully engaged with the experience. I DID climb up on things to get better views. I DID pay such close attention to the smell of the air and the color of the water. Basically, I wanted to be IN that experience, not watch other people be in it.

And that’s when it occurred to me that I had discovered the very best part of the fitness journey I’ve been on for the last 2 1/2 years. I mean, it’s been gratifying to lose some unwanted weight, and to notice triceps where I had never felt muscles before, and to complete a triathlon and a marathon. Of course that’s been rewarding and inspiring and has its own intrinsic value. But somewhere along the line, I think I forgot the whole point: to be able to live life fully, without feeling held back by my body. I forgot that I first hired and trainer and went to a gym because I was sick of feeling like I didn’t have a place in the world, like my body was holding me back from the things I wanted to do. I was tired of hearing about people doing all these fun things like hiking and kayaking and camping and traveling, and bemoaning the fact that I was too out-of-shape to do them, too. Eventually, I got tired of telling myself that I would do those things One Day, when I had lost enough weight or gained enough endurance or felt just a little bit more comfortable in my skin. One Day, I would actually be alive instead of just living.

Fuck that.

Because here’s the real truth: There’s no such thing as One Day, not in the way I meant it. There is no day during which we are perfectly ready to tackle the world. There is no such thing as waking up feeling 100% strong enough and pretty enough and capable enough and smart enough and talented enough and and and and… There’s just today, this day, the day we’ve been given. Right now. And that’s plenty good enough.

I don’t think I would have realized that without my fitness journey. Getting stronger physically has allowed me to appreciate my body in ways I never thought I would. I still have a lot of extra weight I would like to lose, and I still have areas of my body that need more strength development. And you know what? Who cares. WHO CARES. Because I had the energy and the agility and the confidence to run around that mountaintop, in awe of the amazing beauty of Crater Lake, and that experience felt like it belonged to me every bit as much it belonged to everybody else. It felt miraculous and liberating and perfect. And it was absolutely the best part.

Lily-Rygh Glen
http://www.flexiblefitnesspdx.com

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