When starting something new the learning curve can pop up and boink you in the head. The likelihood of this happening increases greatly if you give into temptation and use someone else’s learning curve. Let’s say your gym buddy is a natural athlete, who has been competing in triathalons with her family since her daddy removed her training wheels. This girl’s learning curve is going to batter you unrecognizable in spinning class. You are you. The bad news is you have to start with the knowledge, skill, and strength you have. The incredible and invigorating news is that your potential is limitless.
Lesson: You’ve got your own learning curve. Stand by it and be proud of your personal progress.
And now, it’s time for an Inspirational Story.
I currently live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the adopted homeland of extreme athletes. Out here people don’t ask how your day was, they ask what you did today. I’ve learned the hard way that the response, I watched three hours of Sex and the City on DVD and cleaned my bathroom is a super lame-o answer. Being a loser will garner no friends and no party invites. Sure, we all need chill days to ourselves but make them rare and say that your knee was acting up. The response people are looking for, and the one that is actually way more fun to truthfully answer is something like, I biked 12 miles, grabbed some food and a beer with friends and then we all went camping. The people I look up to say stuff like, I biked up the pass (big mountain), went for a jog through the trails up to see the wildflowers, and got back to my car just in time to grab a burrito and see if my kayak was done being repaired.
I moved here from LA, where I was active, as in morning jogs, occasional yoga, and vigorous barhopping. When I got to Jackson, I learned that physically, I had a lot of catching up to do. Luckily, that was only because there was a lot of fun I as missing out on.
Lots of people aren’t active because they don’t think they are coordinated or strong or flexible or in shape. I spent years using a combination of all these excuses to avoid trying fun activities. I’d dabble, but I would inevitably be the stupidest looking goof on the court/dance floor/field/etc. The “I can’t because I’m not…” excuse became my mantra. Well, me amigos, I’ve traversed the physical challenge mountain and am here to report back what I’ve learned. You don’t need to be awesome or a natural to start learning! You just have to keep trying and you become awesome at things!
And with that we end the preaching. I believe in leading by example. So, here are some tales of one girl’s adventures as she…
Becomes a Badass
My extremeness all started with hiking. One summer between years at college, I was feeling particularly losery and fat. Grumpily, sitting around my parent’s new home in Jackson, Wyoming, where I had zero friends, I was swiftly starting to have sub-zero will to live. As another day of watching marathon America’s Next Top Model came to a close, I sighed, lolled my head back and said to myself, “what are my options? I can either go for a walk or kill myself.” A small spark of enthusiasm pushed me toward the walk and my inner cynical bitch agreed, figuring there would always be time after the walk to slit my wrists. A little way into my walk, fresh oxygen fueling my thoughts, I started to get pissed. I am not a loser. I will not go out like this. Especially in Wyoming! I will persevere. I will climb that fucking mountain! In some towns, the mountain would be a metaphor for kicking butt and overcoming obstacles. In Jackson, you don’t have to be that creative. There are big mountains everywhere and paths for hiking up them. One, in fact, is less than ½ mile from my home (Snowking for any locals) and I was conveniently staring at its grandeur.
The next morning, decked out in an ugly T-shirt, yoga pants, sweat bands, barely used hiking boots, and a full body layer of prayer, I headed up the mountain. My outfit was stupid. A 75-year-old man with a walking stick passed me. Children passed me. Tiny four-pound dogs that had to take 22 steps to equal one of mine passed me. About halfway up, red faced, drenched in sweat, wheezing, I turned around. The next day I tried it again. I figured, hell, I’m in Wyoming. Who cares what these people think about my salt dripping, seemingly asthmatic, chubby butt. It might take some time, but I would climb the mountain. And I did. Still do. Only now, I do it in tiny athletic shorts and a sports bra. As I jog down, I say, “You’re almost there. Hang in there!” to the poor, sweaty saps who look close to flinging themselves off the side of the mountain.
Just remember, we all have to start at the bottom of the mountain, but we all have the potential to climb it.