I started working out with weights as a teenager. I bought myself a set of lavender ladies’ dumbbells – Weider if memory serves. [i] I bought them because I thought they’d help me get thin – pursuing thin was the most important thing in my life for decades – but before I knew it, I fell in love with the strength that comes from contract, release, and repeat.
Since then, I’ve never not lifted weights in some fashion or other, even if it was just bodyweight. Like most lifelong relationships, this one blows hot and cold. But I always come back. I find weightlifting akin to yoga – it’s meditative. I’m focused and ‘in the moment’ as I simultaneously lift weight and try to perfect my form. [ii]
I lift the same amount of weight as ever, but I’ve noticed my functional strength is starting to decrease now that I’m in my fifties. This realization prompted a recent reinvigoration of my training routine: I’ve always loved being strong enough to not, for the most part, need a man. At least when it comes to furniture moving.
It would be nice if the strength required to hold a high plank transferred to the mental plane. Some argue it does: I’ve heard people talk about how the strength and endurance requirements of their heavy weightlifting program make them better at sales and governing. It’s possible.
Of course, correlation isn’t causation, and weightlifting isn’t where I feel the strongest, anyhow.
I feel strongest when I resist: when I fight the nasty inside voices that come with mental illness; when I fight the nasty urges that slither along lockstep; when I win.
When everyone who battles wins.
Real strength is in the survivors. From whatever battle you emerged from, regardless of how terribly you were scathed.
[i] It serves. I like saying things that way at times. It gets tiring being right all the time.
[ii] “my form” as in, while performing the exercise.