Sometimes it takes one simple thing to propel me into the kind of thoughts that make me question whether I can (or want to) make it through the next year, let alone 40 years (and 40 more is optimistic with my family history. If I was realistic it would be 15 more years.)
This week’s simple thing is my shoulder. Nothing so life changing as a terminal illness, or the loss of job, or the loss of a loved one. Nope, just shoulder pain. I cringe in embarrassment as I write the words, because of all the people I know who have endured worse and thrived. But this simple thing seems to be the tether to my sanity. Because the one thing that I have passion for, no, the one thing I have passion for that has never let me down, is lifting.
The weight room is my refuge. It is where I go to escape the suffocation of the empty rooms in my house. It is where I go to prove to myself I can still do something hard. It is the place that keeps me out of bed as early as six in the evening. Lifting is the one thing I can do where all other thought disappears…and the harder the lift the better. The leg press is my favorite right now, because as I press the weight it is as though I am pushing away all the disappointment, and uncertainty, and worries of bills, and anger (which is only despair in disguise) for those who so easily walk out of my life. You can do this, I tell myself. And I can. The emotions the lift erases carry a lot of weight. With each exhale my burdens become lighter. When I was sixteen and I needed to escape I would drive down the highway as fast and far as it took to realize I had no place to go. The weight room is where I go.
So, what if I can’t anymore. What if THAT is taken away? Oh, I know the shoulder will heal,
and I’ll adapt. But it reminds me that right now I am wholly dependent on my love of lifting. And being dependent on anything feels like a mistake. The frustration is not with the possibility of the inability to lift, it's with the not having anyplace else to go, and with gas prices the way they are, can't afford to drive up and down the highway, can I?
Perhaps it is time to reassess more than what lifts I can manage with an injured shoulder. Perhaps it is time to find other places of refuge, to find other means of coping, to discover other joys.
But not today. Today I am planning out a kick a$$ leg day for tomorrow. And the harder the better.