It is icy. There is some lingering snow on the ground. It’s not that bad, but you would never know it judging by the news reports, school closings, and sudden surge in facebook activity. I guess it just speaks to our levels of preparation, organization, and responsibility. It makes me appreciate how days like this can show me something about my life in a whole new perspective.
Here in St. Louis you may as well shut down the city because .1 of an inch of ice has fallen. Don’t worry about being the most dangerous city in the nation. If you make that too big of a headline, people may panic. Just be sure to put a news crew on every corner of the city slipping and sliding on ice on a sidewalk, warn people to stay indoors, off the roads, shut down every school, and, for crying in a bucket, stock up on bread, milk, and eggs.
After my first instructor called in 10 hours in advance of class. I started to think “here we go.” She does live very south compared to the rest of us in a more rural area with a smaller street department and the ice was predicted to be much worse there. Reason or excuse? Reason. Right? Only she knows.
I decide “I better be prepared.” I am the owner. If no one can get to work safely, it is my responsibility to show up or close. I cleaned the studio myself, got the workout ready, figured out how to get my kids to school and how to supervise them if school was canceled, checked the weather, laid out my clothes, set the coffee pot, found the rock salt, set the alarm, and went to bed. When my alarm went off at 3, I did not hit snooze because I knew I couldn’t. I had to drink the coffee, get dressed, check the weather and school closings, prepare the website, and TRY to get to work safely. Guess what? No problems. Like Spongebob, I was ready!
So begin the text messages…”Are you open?” “I just fell in my driveway.” “How are the roads?” “There is a cop car in my front yard.”
At the 5am workout, six people showed up. They would not have been able to do it later. They had to get it in if they could. What if schools were closed and kids were home? What if the roads are fine and we miss our workout for nothing? What if we feel sluggish all day because of all this additional stress and missed out workout to top it all off?
It was a fun workout. My hamstrings loved it! Good for them/us. We knew what we had to do it or, at the very least, try to do it. We did it. It feels great and it is crossed off my list. Moving on…
What about those people who did not make it? Should we condemn them because they are not die hard workout fanatics who can’t get enough? Of course not. If Ellipse would have been closed, it would have been sad to see the sender of my first text message venture out into the cold for nothing. If my driveway is so bad I can’t maneuver it with my feet, it can be highly intimidating to then maneuver a $20,000 vehicle on potentially icy roads. Finally, if a cop car is in my yard in the middle of the night with the officer walking himself to the ambulance parked at the top of the hill I live on so he can transport himself to the hospital, I might throw in the towel on the next day too. Does that make me a quitter? Are these reasons or excuses? Or am I watching a clip of the movie The Hangover?
I believe each of us has to answer those questions for ourselves.
I could have easily posted on our website that we were closed due to weather. Everyone (but that one guy-there is always on of THOSE guys) would understand. It never would have been an issue. Except to me. I KNEW I could have made it or tried to make it before I waved the white flag. I can pat myself on the back and move on. Does that make me better than someone else? No. I could have gone a step further and planned my breakfast while I was at it. I do preach this to others everyday. I know better. I still grabbed a chocolate chip cookie my son made for his algebra class and a 100 calorie pack of yogurt covered pretzels to go with that coffee I made a priority the night before. Guess I wasn’t quite prepared enough. Was I? Reason: I had all this to do. I was so busy. I had to drive in that ice. I didn’t have time to stop for eggs and scramble them up with no yolks. I had to sub for that 6am instructor. I’m working out anyway. Reason? Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! It would have taken me 30 seconds to make a protein shake, and grab a banana or toast half an English muffin as I walked out the door. I allowed extra time for slippery driveways and roads.
Are those people who did not make their usual workout sitting at home right now or around the water cooler talking about how stupid it is to get up in the cold and ice and try to make a group exercise class? Maybe. Who cares if they are? I don’t. I wonder though. If they are saying those negative things, they must be the people who are making excuses. If I had a true blue reason why I could not do something, I would not feel a bit bad. Not a bit. For example, if I were trapped in my car on the side of the road, found that cookie and ate it, I would be writing about survival today instead of excuses. If I failed at something I tried to do, I would be proud that I tried. If I decided to come down on someone who was only being health-conscience, I would wonder why I am trying to make myself feel better by making them look bad.
I might blame their etiquette and call it rude not to try my special homemade holiday delight, but I think maybe I should blame that cookie that snuck it’s way into my mouth a time too many and causes me not to fit in my jeans, be grouchy at that party, cross my hands over my muffin top and over-sized shirt, and say you’re stupid for working out on cold days when I can barely drag my ass out of bed because I consistently don’t plan my breakfast! Dumb cookie.
Reflect on the times in your life when you are not prepared. How does this make you feel? Like a quitter or like a failure? There is a difference. A big difference. Failures cannot possibly because it is out of their control. Quitters just don’t. Quitters often find somewhere else to lay the blame. It’s not their fault. Right?
Reflect on the times when you speak negatively about someone trying to do something to improve themselves or when you discourage them from trying to improve.
Reflect on your level of preparedness and lack thereof.
Reflect on your reasoning or excusing. You can only judge yourself.