Time to shut off the “excuse machine”

V2

I went skate skiing with some friends a couple weeks ago. (I know! Cross-country skiing six months after ACL surgery – pretty awesome, huh?) Anyway, so we were skiing, and we started huffing and puffing up a long climb. We were intimately aware of our hearts pounding in our ears and how mushy and weak our legs felt. Then the apologies started:

“I’m sorry I’m so slow.”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve pushed myself this hard. I’m so out of shape.”

“I would have gotten out more, but this ACL surgery has really impacted my workouts.”

Do you ever catch yourself doing this, too? Apologizing-slash-whining about how slow or weak or out of shape you feel while participating in sports you love? 

I was trying to figure out why we do this, and then I read a post on Adventure Journal that just nailed it:

Maybe we do it to make ourselves feel a little better about not being at the head of the pack. By pointing out that we are “so out of shape,” we’re implying that our real self is actually a super-fit gnar machine that would obviously be crushing it, if only we had been able to sneak a few more workouts in the last couple of weeks.

The article goes on to say that whatever our inner motivations, it’s time to stop.

. . . those excuses come out sounding quite a lot like complaints. And, really, if we’re out enjoying nature, exercising and recreating with our friends, we probably don’t have that much to complain about. Maybe we’d all have more joyful experiences if we learned to mute our inner excuse maker.

I’m going for a hike this afternoon, and whatever pace I take, I’m going to be grateful that I’m breathing crisp mountain air. Instead of bumming on the fact that I can’t get to the top of Tiger Mountain in under 40 minutes like I did last summer, I’m going to relish the feel of sun on my face and rock under my feet.

From here forward, I commit to diving into the moment, working hard at whatever I’m doing, and enjoying the gift of time with friends doing things I love. Who’s with me?

 Photo by Laura Avellaneda-Cruz, used with permission

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