It seems silly to talk about fitness in a time like this.
The world is on fire, the United States seriously might be selecting the road to dictatorship, and here we are—talking about burpees and deadlifts. What the heck do power cleans have to do with a peace that seems to elude our society at this point in time?
Nothing. And everything. It might look like whistling while Rome burns, but I don’t think it is, not for many of us. Let me explain.
See, I can’t change anybody but me.
I can talk, I can write, I can argue. I can discuss, rage, stay calm. (Well, sometimes, you know how I am.) I can petition, demonstrate, and lead. But I can’t fundamentally change anyone but me.
And that’s why I’m deadlifting, and push pressing, and back squatting (and talking about those things).
Those things help me to move better, feel better, think better, and treat everyone in my life better.
I emerge from a workout with a patience and a kindness for people that I did not have so strongly before I entered the gym.
It’s not much, but it’s almost all I have at this moment, or any moment in my life. That which enables me to be kinder, stronger, and better should enable me to be more of a human being. That which gives me more of a capacity for patience and love must be pursued, even in tough times, even when it seems a bit selfish. It isn’t. I must take care of myself before I can care for anyone else. It’s putting the oxygen mask on yourself when it falls from the ceiling of the diving airplane.
Inherent in this treaty, this deal, this handshake we make with our better nature for the exchange of this time and our pursuit of this joy, however, is a promise to ourselves. And we need to remember that promise: the using of this time for more than just us.
Because if I’m just a jackass, using this time to help myself and no one else ever? Then this deal is spoiled, selfish, and hollow. It has little worth besides the muscles I see in the mirror. How sad would that be? To be that kind of human. To be selfish and have my words be only boasts, clouds of self-aggrandizement that pollute and choke, instead of clarify and sustain. If this happens, slap me. Tell me. Deride me. Poke me in the pecs and say, “Get your shit together, Darsh! Be a human being! You’re not the only person on this planet!”
Do that for me, and I will do that for you.
Now, let’s get back to improving ourselves and this world. Because, in times like these, the best place to start change is in your own damn house.