I do a lot of competitive things. Not team things, you understand, because of deep seated trauma from having dodgeballs thrown at my head and getting picked last and all that, but individual things like running and weightlifting. And I’m not really in the competitive arena with those things, not at the top of the field, not ever going to be top three even in my rapidly-increasing age group. So I hear this a lot:
You’re not competing with anyone but yourself.
The problem is, myself is both a lousy loser and a really smug winner.
Take, for example, weightlifting. This week I got a new PR in my shoulder press. 100 lbs. I’ve been working on that for three years and two separate biceps tendon injuries (not from weightlifting, from random stuff like aerial silk and yoga). I’m really fucking proud of that shit. Like, REALLY.
Myself walked around for days patting me on the back. We texted people. There was a happy dance. I told me a lot of told-me-so’s.
And then I dropped a 195 lb back squat. Tried to stand up with it.. could not. Would have gotten myself stapled to the floor by the bar, so I dropped it. Like you’re supposed to. And in my head it made a sound like the One Ring falling when Gandalf dropped that.
Okay okay I know. That’s objectively really heavy. Baby elephants weigh about that much at birth. Elephants. And it’s not like I haven’t picked it up before. I’ve totally squatted 195.
I just, y’know, wanted to get 200.
So myself and I have been beating me up about that for a couple days now. Which totally makes sense, right? We’re crappy losers, even when we only lose to us.
I guess what I’m saying is that there are days when I’m not “better than I was yesterday.” When I see no improvement and I don’t set PRs. I’m trying to be ok with that and focus on the important things: I’m alive, I’m writing, that son-of-a-bitch I used to work for lost in the hearing and now I can collect unemployment. But it’s hard when I’m constantly pushing me to be better than I was. Sometimes all I get to be is different, not better.
But then, myself is already pretty good. It’s hard to remember that in the middle of a job hunt and with the house still a mess from where I redid the kitchen floor and I haven’t showered yet today and let’s face it that always messes with my sense of well-being.
But I can deadlift 350 lbs. So that’s something at least.