Embrace Your Pain

2016 was a fucked up year for most of us. Between Brexit, Trump, and a million celebrities dying, there was little time left for a good, solid moan about the weather.

2016 was an interesting year for me on a personal level, too. I started the year completely burnt out: after spending 2015 weightlifting 7-8 times a week, while trying to write a novel, complete an art course, do more singing/recordings, and socialise with friends, all while holding down a full time job. Well, all it took was an innocent question from my brother in February to throw me completely off the rails: why are you doing all this stuff?

Queue reverse "zero to hero" montage.

I ended up totally unmotivated, questioning my reasoning, my purpose, and just... surviving. I went to work, and I went home. I had become everything I ever feared.

Sometimes it doesn't matter how many times you talk to different people, the answers just aren't in front of you. But you have to keep searching, because the answers are there, somewhere. You will find them eventually. 

Sometimes it takes another, new person in your life. Sometimes it takes an article on the internet, or a book. For me, this time, it was a mixture of talking to the owner of my gym (after threatening to quit and him not letting me!), reading a book called Sports Slump Busting, and another called Grit (by Angela Duckworth). I also found out about Effective Altruism because there happened to be a meetup in London when I was free one day.

I went part-time at work. I made courses for people (Mental Resilience and Nutrition courses). I thought I wanted to become an Art Therapist, but eventually realised I couldn't sacrifice myself enough for what I needed to do to get into that. By October, I had managed to get another job at an amazing company, still as a Technical Author, but one whose impact is felt.

I was running and joining crossfit classes (to mix up my training), I was light. I felt great. And then comes Peroneal Tendinopathy. I'd had it since April/May time, realistically, but I trained through it. And now it was acute and chronic.

I am someone who is resilient. I have learnt to be in order to survive. Calisthenics and, moreover, Gymnastic Bodies.

Whenever I see someone amazing on the internet, they've always done some sport from a young age. Normally it's gymnastics. There seems to be no other training like it.

Mobility and flexibility, with strength. They are all three important.

Every time I start something worthwhile, I always think "I wish I'd started this sooner". In some ways I hope to never stop having that feeling. And, in others, I wish I'd found the answers earlier. But life is a journey, and no matter how many times someone tells you something, you have to find out for yourself.

The steps are:

  1. Dare to fail
  2. Fail (it's inevitable if you're doing important work)
  3. Embrace your pain (learn and adapt)