Tag Archives: goals

Lessons from My 13 Year-Old Self: Contentment

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5 January 1987

Dear Diary,

It’s about ten o’clock. I had school today. Yuck! Thankfully, it went by quickly and I didn’t have much homework. I’ll probably flunk Home Economics. We have a test soon. Yuck! I can’t wait until this weekend. Will it NEVER come?! I can’t wait. School is so weird. It’s like it’s not real. I want to lose 10 lbs. I weigh about 130. I’m watching ‘Footloose.’ I can’t wait until this summer. I have to go to bed now.

–K.L.

I had forgotten about the journal I had gotten for Christmas when I was thirteen, until my mom brought it to me, along with some of my vintage clothes, a politically incorrect version of the game “Life,” and my 1979 Wonder Woman comic book.

Reading aloud the narratives of our family vacations with my “thrifty” (read: cheap) step-dad; my  mom and I laughed until we cried.  I was quite a drama queen–feeling my life would be over because of a move or doing badly on a test or some general heartbreak.

But aside from the dramatic use of middle-school Spanish to close each entry (Hasta Luego! Buenas Noches!) the sad theme of the diary is the lack of contentment within myself. In fact, this has been a sad theme for much of my life–I just never realized it until recently.

It feels like I’ve always struggled with this: looking for weight loss, or to win the lottery, or some relationship to make me feel whole. For much of my life, I felt like I was waiting for life to begin. And while I don’t believe that time is ever wasted (it may be misused, but it’s always character building); there were few moments when I felt like I was doing what I was SUPPOSED to be doing. Usually, I was busy trying to please other people–to say what they needed to hear in order to keep everyone happy. I never wanted to fail anyone.

But the fact is that we should never be the cornerstone of any person’s life, except our own. We each have a unique personality. We have talents, hopes and dreams. And when we use our talents, and are true to our character, then we can accomplish our dreams.

Home economics was never my forte (and still is NOT). But I’m finding that by aligning my personality–that person I REALLY am inside–with my goals, I am much more content. I have dreams that are within my grasp. But I’m the only one who can do the work to make them come true.

Regardless of the wishes of my 13 year-old self, winning 10 million dollars or getting a date would not have made me feel complete. No single thing outside of myself could possibly make me happy.

I have to start with the quiet confidence that my happiness, my desires and dreams matter in the scheme of things. 

It’s only when I am truly content with the present, and have made peace with the past, that I can move boldly into the future–no matter what.

Life has begun. And it feels good. 


A Crossfit Ethic for Everyday Life or Shut Up and Work

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As a writer, I love words. Language has some great ones: discombobulate, serendipity, abscond, chocolate; and I know that words can be motivating. Words have incubated millions of loves and spawned thousands of wars. They are powerful, hurtful, thrilling; they can touch the soul or break the spirit; they can focus the mind or flood it.

But there comes a point where words are as ineffective as a wheel on an overturned bicycle, it spins fast but gets nowhere.

Words must be backed up by action, or else it’s all just carbon dioxide.

Sometimes, as our coach says, you have to get shit done.

Maybe you have to become fluent enough in a second language to get a job? Maybe you have 8 years-worth of junk in your attic that has to be cleaned out in one week? Maybe you want to lose that last 5 kilos, run mountain marathons or deadlift 115% bodyweight?

Whatever goal you envision, it’s nothing unless you walk towards it on a daily basis.

And that takes work.

Not talk.

If you want to change things, then change them. Step out, step up, be bold, be aggressive. Shyness is really a form of self-consciousness, which means, you’re thinking too much. Too much about yourself. Too much about what other people think. Get over it. Step outside yourself and DO whatever it is you have in your mind to do.

Work is hard. It’s uncomfortable. It requires effort you don’t even know you HAVE inside you. But the only way to achieve your dreams is not to pontificate about them, but to ACTUALLY work on them by DOING the thousand little things necessary to build them into reality.

Remember that scene in LOTR, ‘Return of the King,’ where Samwise Gamgee is in pub with his buddies: he sees Rosie Cotton, takes a drink, and then walks off camera while his friends blush? Who DOESN’T remember that scene? Sam has become a man (or Hobbit, rather) of action, and we all know it’s SO much better than in the beginning where he’s just mooning over her. Or later when he’s in a sea of lava with nothing but his regrets and a nearly-dead, four-fingered compatriot.

Don’t live life with regrets. If you’ve messed up, then get over it and move on.

Most of us don’t just walk into a Crossfit affiliate and swing the 64 kilogram kettle bell. Some of us can barely wield the 4 at first. My first Turkish-Getup I kept stumbling over my own feet. Rob didn’t even HAVE a 4kg kettle bell back then–he gave me a weight that had broken in half–and I could barely hold it over my head. It was HARD.

Weights are useless if they’re lying dormant. You have to grab them and lift them every day until you CAN put them over your head.

This is one way that Crossfit has changed me: I am finding the strength to do things that are hard.

Some of these things I love.

Some of these things I don’t love.

But I DO know this: my Crossfit work ethic has given me the courage to take risks, to be focused, and to DAILY draw closer to my dreams.

These dreams are not just vapor.

They are real.

They require effort.

They CAN be achieved.

And yours can too.

So, let’s stop talking and get to work.

There’s a WOD waiting for us.