The Valsalva Maneuver

“The only thing an old man can tell a young man is that it goes fast, real fast, and if you’re not careful it’s too late. Of course, the young man will never understand the truth.”

Norm Macdonald

Every week I wake up and watch the sunlight come through the big picture window of our house and wonder if this is it. We are living in limbo between the life we’ve built for the past 8 years—and whatever is to come.

Change is hard. What’s harder is a lot of change all at once—like a whole big bag of change falling on your face.

What the past 6 months have taught me is that you better open your eyes and be where you are (i.e. enjoy every moment). It’s cliche as a sunset photo in the Walmart parking lot—but time moves forward. You think you have a lot of it (time)—but that’s just a little fib that we tell ourselves.

One day I’ll look out this big picture window and that will be the last time. So it goes for a lot of things in life—including, well, life itself.

A few months ago I had a really strange injury that I couldn’t explain—but whose implications would mean the end of my weight lifting journey. This was a huge blow to my ego, my psyche, & my long term goals. I wanted to set an example for Miles. I wanted to teach Miles how to be strong. But for some strange reason, my plans were derailed before they could ever get off the ground.

Long story short—the injury miraculously disappeared and I went back to lifting heavier than I’ve ever lifted. You better believe every day I pick up that bar I say thank you for the opportunity to keep getting strong.

I guess what I’m trying to articulate with this post is something about the fickle nature of our reality. I’m not going to pretend that I have a philosophical answer to dealing with change. In fact I would quote Kerouac in saying “I have nothing to offer except my own confusion”.

Weightlifting has taught me a lot of things—humility, empathy, discipline, gratitude—the list goes on. All of these lessons are tied to the act of picking up the heaviest bar I can carry, taking the biggest breath that I can fill into my lungs, holding it—and doing the best I can.

Maybe that’s my advice.

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