Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Push-Ups and Other Torrid Love Affairs
Right or wrong, normal or abnormal. a good portion of my life has been defined by pain and discomfort. While everybody else is championing the cooler weather in the fall, I am taking an extra 15 minutes or so to get out of bed and enduring bone-deep aches, the continuing price exacted by youthful foolishness. I'm not complaining, I deserved all this.
Even before I joined the military I exercised quite a bit, mainly because I was fighting all the time. I did push ups and sit ups and ran, not because I enjoyed any of those things but rather because I wanted the results. Since I'm neither tall nor genetically given to bulk, my two aces in the hole in a fight were that I was fast, and that apparently I could take a pretty viscous beating without stopping. Exercise helped with at least one of those. After I joined the military ,of course. they made me do those things, and now that I'm 40, I don't run anywhere because I don't want to. I haven't been in a fight in years, and unless my life is threatened, I don't anticipate that changing. If I did a sit-up now it would merely be out of curiosity to see if I still could since I never enjoyed them. But I still do the push ups.
Due to the aforementioned wrist injuries I have to do the push-ups on my knuckles, and have had to do so my entire adult life. My reasons are as much mental as physical. There has always been something about the push-ups. They hurt, pretty much every time, more so in the winter. I do them because they hurt. I do them because it is a very simple exercise of pushing against myself, of making myself go through the pain and past it. I do them for the sheer discipline of making myself do them. I don't enjoy the pain, but I enjoy using the pain to prove something to myself.
It's the same thing with my Bible reading. I read my Bible all the time not because I get a life-changing revelation from it every time, but for the sheer discipline of making myself do it. I know most people don't read their Bibles. I also know most people my age, unless they are health nuts ( which I am not) don't do push-ups. I don't have to do either one, but at the same time, I do because to not do them would be to admit defeat at my own hands. It would be the mental equivalent of getting knocked down and failing to rise again, the highest of crimes in my book.
There isn't a whole lot of tangible physical evidence for these acts of discipline. I'm not ripped with muscle and barrel-chested, and I'm certainly not a Bible genius. But I do them because I should. I do them because , a lot of times, I don't want to.
I have observed that most people do not seek out discomfort on purpose. Most people seek out pleasure , and it may be proof of my mal-adjusted nature that I do not. My wife often comments that I don't know how to relax, and she's probably right. I don't look for a softer bed, I look for a harder back. It's not because I enjoy these things, but rather I enjoy the effort of pushing myself through the discomfort and coming out the other side. This also makes me rather difficult to live with as I despise weakness in myself and don't tolerate it very well in other people.
What is the point of all this? Why am I telling you this? I'm not sure. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that it is possible to channel a warped personality into something positive. Maybe it's possible to take something broken and make something useful out of it.
Or maybe I'm just crazy. Functional, but crazy.
What do you think?