Resilience

I guess sometimes it pays to listen. My back is healing like a champ, since I’ve been avoiding any sort of activity that strains it excessively. AND back to the boring old super strict diet because I now have a deal with my body. It has told me quite clearly the rules of engagement. Just one of those things, it is what it is. I can wish all day long I wasn’t so sensitive, but you can’t change certain things, and on the flip side if I treat it well it treats me well. Chutes & ladders man, chutes & ladders.
Maybe related, maybe not, but I’ve also been feeling more apathetic than normal. My body is making me take a break so I’m breaking, yes, but sort of in a calm-before-the-storm type way. I am extremely excited about the next few weeks/months. I have some super awesome friends, and I’m looking forward to my USA trip.
As soon as I manage to book it, that is. Since I’m bringing my cat back with me this time, I need to make sure that my ticket allows this form of carry-on. To wit, a summary of a real conversation with Lufthansa:
“Sorry, you can’t bring your pet in the cabin for a flight to South Africa.”
“Why?”
“Because the South African regulations don’t allow it.” (actually, they do)
“Yes, I know they can be a bit strange. I’ve spoken to the pet import authorities. If I were to give you a document from the South African pet import authorities saying that it would be allowed from their side, would you allow it?”
“No. It’s against airline policy.”
“Because South Africa doesn’t allow it?”
“Right.”
“… all righty then.”
The work week wrapped up on a few high notes as I finished a couple of things on Thursday that had been on my pile for a while, and Friday was HR day. A lot of the office was taken down with a stomach bug this week, which I avoided (happily). So many things on the to-do list, and now the time has come to start some new big projects. But, these are the very things that are our raison d’etre so it’s a good feeling, although a little bit scary.
Speaking of being scared, it’s not a feeling I particularly enjoy. Some people like horror movies and the like. Me, not so much. I actually get a bit of a rush about realising I’m about to do something scary and then just plowing ahead anyway. Adrenaline I like. Fear, not so much.
On Saturday I spent the day with the Ballistix crew in Somerset West. We started off the day with a completely ridiculous interval-training metcon. Absolute carnage, and an evil grin from Neil caught on camera. The more I get to know that man, the more I like him! Then a trip to Checkers where I was asked to play paleo police (not sure who died and put me in charge of the menu but there you go). Some of the things people asked about: olives, parsnips, corn, popcorn, butternut, baked beans, green beans, and bacon. Ha.
Fun crew though, in some ways a familiar perspective and in some ways very different. Each CrossFit gym is probably a bit like a company: it takes on its own personality (that probably in some ways resembles that of its leader). One of the more interesting topics was the behaviour of certain competitors. Obviously we all notice different things, and one thing that I was a bit shaken by in a bit is people commenting on how some of the competitors were trying to psych each other out. Nothing new under the sun of course but I was fascinated by this because when I compete I am so in my own zone that if someone were trying to psych me out I most likely wouldn’t notice. Which is probably a good thing, on balance. Goodness knows I missed quite a couple things at Regionals that were kind of right in front of my face, and I’m sure the same was the case at other competitions. You pay attention to what you choose to pay attention to.
A lot of gossip, a huge bowl of guacamole, roasted veg & braaied meat later, I headed back into town. A stop at Hollie’s place in Sea Point, followed up by chicken wings & red wine with Amy at Pancho’s (not a damn paleo thing on the menu …!), and some music by the Swingsetters before my bed called me. Sunday, I mainly recovered from Saturday. Slept in, which is one of my favourite things to do, met Tammy & Matt for lunch at Sandbar, then went to Canal Walk to do some shopping.
It’s been striking me recently just how much negativity there is out there. People sniping behind each others’ backs. Constructing strawmen. Distorting facts, maybe intentionally, maybe not. Shame, you can see the fear in some peoples’ eyes when you go poking around asking uncomfortable questions. It’s like Ingi was musing the other day … when you’re being manipulated, or in some way not true to yourself, some part of you knows it deep down. But we usually don’t want to admit this to ourselves.
Part of me sometimes wants to create certain confrontations, and part of me wishes everyone would just get along. Of course people gripe about you behind your back. If, on balance, people are saying more good than bad then you’re doing all right. But there are certain things you can’t control.  
I was wondering out loud the other night how it might be to go through life for a week actually THINKING about what I said before I opened my mouth. Can you resist the temptation to join in when someone says something negative about someone else … even when you agree with them? Or is that expectation even reasonable? 
We had been watching Snatch on Saturday but put on Kung Fu Panda when Neil showed up with his family. There was a cute little vignette in there where the kung fu master is telling the panda how it was the worst day of his life when he found out that the panda was selected as something-or-other, until he realised that it was actually his own internal issue, and then found inner peace or some such. Classic. Truth combined with tongue-in-cheek sarcasm, and the reason this smug self-centred inherent superiority really grates. Rising above the fray, turning the other cheek, realising that your reaction when provoked is your choice … it’s a strange one isn’t it? Why is detachment from the outcome and from emotion generally considered to be the state of a more enlightened being? What’s wrong with revelling in emotion, like a child throwing a temper tantrum? Isn’t that just as much a part of being alive? Feeling things deeply and fully?
Maybe, but it’s a slippery slope to the boomerang back, to where you lash out and want revenge. We’re petty creatures, aren’t we? It’s sometimes easier to want to take someone else down with you, to your level. To hold a grudge. Sometimes grudges can be powerful motivators.
On the other side, I would say that being smug about your own superiority of whatever sense (physical, mental, emotional) is in itself a form of immaturity. I found some freedom this weekend from something that had been bothering me for a while. The what is unimportant, the realisation that I am incredibly immature is, I guess, neither here nor there. Like a grudge, it can be a tool as well: I remember reading at one point that one of the hallmarks of the best competitive athletes is this extreme ego. You have to believe that you’re the best athlete out there, or at some point along the way your mind is going to get in your way when things start to hurt and people start to move ahead of you, part of you can give up. And once that happens, it’s all over.
Anger, envy, fear, greed, rejection, alienation – all these things are real, and they will absolutely eat you alive. I read an article a while back that talked about resilience as being a trait whereby we could take knocks …. Whether failures, or rejections, or bad news, or whatever, and as quickly as possible come to accept the situation and figure out what to do next. Mature can wait. Right now, I just wanna be resilient when I grow up.
  • “New rule: everyone’s out to get you.” – Jeff
  • “Day 3, we kill them.” – Jeff
  • “We have to be lucky sometimes.” – Alex 
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