Loud, angry music is blaring. Between songs there is a melody of grunts and groans...heavy breathing...and intermittent cursing. I'm holding a stopwatch...counting down...saying "Hold on! You can do it! Only 30 more seconds! You can do ANYTHING for 30 seconds!!!" I get a few desperate and angry looks and then all of the sudden...it's over. The seconds have passed and the stopwatch is stopped. The hard work and pain are over. The struggle and the yells are replaced with sighs of relief and smiles. This is a common occurrence in the gym I work at. I see it almost everyday. Almost everything we do is about time...about seeing who can go further faster...or who can reach the destination first. Every minute...every second counts.
Sometimes it's painful. I know this because I'm not always on that side of the stopwatch. Many times, I am the one suffering...struggling to finish right alongside everyone else. Somedays are more difficult than others. Some days the physical pain is enticing...addictive...almost pleasurable. I enjoy the fight and I feel as though I have "won". Other days it feels like torture...my mind becomes consumed with the fear of not being first...feelings of frustration distract me. The pain can overwhelm me if I allow it to...but no matter what...I don't stop. Giving up is not an option for me in the gym. I tell myself what I tell everyone else..."I can do this. It's only 30 more seconds. Hold on."There are 86,400 seconds in a day...and everyday...those seconds are filled with many different emotions. Some are filled with laughter. Some are filled with peace. Some are filled with anger...some with disappointment and regret. Some are filled with anticipation and others with happiness. And some...are filled with pain...the worst kind of pain there is...the pain of the heart. This pain is both physical and emotional. It clouds my mind and makes me forget that I am strong. It leaves me gasping for air...breathless...with a lump in my throat. It makes me want to clutch my chest because the stabbing pain in my heart feels so real...so tangible.I have suffered physical pain in the gym that I never thought I could withstand and I have learned to deal with it...to live in it so to speak...to use it to push myself further...but when it comes to emotional pain...sometimes I am weak. And when I have days...where the seconds of pain seem to outnumber the seconds of peace and happiness...I don't want to "live in it". I don't want to push myself to be better...stronger. I want to quit...stop the watch...stick my middle finger in the air and run away. The hard part is that I can't run away from myself...or my thoughts...or memories.So as bad as I want to...I will never give up...I will never stop. I will do what I tell the brave people that I work with everyday to do. I will hold on...30 seconds at a time...again and again...until finally the pain subsides...and I find myself breathing a sigh of relief...smiling...and enjoying seconds filled with something more pleasant than pain.
*The pics above are from the "aftermath" of "Fran" one day at the gym.
21-15-9 for time