A Humbling Experience!

2016-12-21-020I am a Type A personality – competitive, an overachiever, ambitious, impatient.  Anything that slows me down or keeps me from getting things done irks me.  Waiting in long lines, rambling meetings with no purpose, cumbersome processes —  these are things that drive me nuts.  Over the past few years, as I have grappled with first one, then two and now three cancers, I have noticed a significant shift in my personality.  I have been forced by the universe to learn to be more patient, more Zen-like, more relaxed, more accepting.

I notice this particularly in my work-out regimen.  Each time I enter Goodlife Fitness, I brace myself, take a breath and park my Type A personality at the door.   I am definitely the worst in the workout classes.  I don’t follow instructions very well and more times than not, do exactly the opposite of what the instructor wants me to do.  If I am supposed to lift my right leg, I will invariably lift my left leg.  Thank goodness, I am not an octopus, otherwise God knows what leg I would raise!  I have no style when it comes to working out.  Nothing comes gracefully.  Everything is painfully inelegant.  And it doesn’t matter how many times I go to a fitness class, I don’t seem to get any better.  I am the one that the teacher will call out most in the class because I am not displaying the right form.  I have noticed that strangers in the class will often show me what I am supposed to do because they notice I am not doing it correctly.  In one situation, an individual figured I did not speak English so I could not understand the instructor.  Each visit to the gym is a humbling experience for me.

In the past, I don’t think I would have handled this embarrassment very well.  I would not even try If I could not be the best.  Perhaps it was being a perfectionist.  Perhaps it was ego.  This time, though, its different.  I have become somewhat addicted to working out and love how I look and feel after.  My Aqua Fitness instructor commented that I have a smile from ear-to-ear from the time I start the workout until the end of it.  And she’s right.  Somehow, somewhere along the way, I am okay with being the worst in my class, not comparing myself to others and not worrying about how others see me.  I now focus on competing with myself and being just a little bit better each day.  What is more important to me is that I am in the game, trusting my body and doing what feels right for me.  In the process, I have become more accepting and understanding of others.

Cancer is a hard taskmaster.  It is a gift that comes wrapped in a barbed wire.  When I look back, I regret how many times I hesitated doing something because I knew I would never be the best at it.  Today I no longer stay in this safe zone.  I throw caution to the wind, let loose and let myself have fun.  I dance every morning even though I have no rhythm.  I cook for the heck of it.  I try new things all the time.  When there is no fear of failure, life expands exponentially.  I wish this is a lesson I had learned a long time ago – what might have been possible for me?  Now I am more than making up for past hesitations.  Life is a theatre and I have decided to live in the front row of my life.