We've all seen them. They are inevitably speckled amongst our newsfeed headlines as constant reminder of our inferiority. Or maybe it's their superiority. It doesn't take too many upward swipes of the thumb to see one in your Instagram feed or your Facebook wall or you Pinterest...thing. Seriously, how does Pinterest work?!?!?!? They are the "What's Your Excuse" images. Memes maybe? I'm too old to keep up with all the lingo! You know what I'm talking about. The high res photo of the elderly chap lifting weights. The paralyzed fella doing pull-ups while still strapped into his wheelchair. The flexing fit mom in her bikini surrounded by her three kids. The amputee boy running on his new prosthetic blades.
And there you have it. The writing on the wall. Or photo in this case. "What's your excuse?" That's what they all say. The implication here is that if those individuals can get physically fit, stay fit, and perform feats of athleticism despite their immense obstacles then you can too. You have no excuse not to do it because your excuse can't possibly be bigger than theirs. They overcame their excuse; so you should stop being a baby, cowboy up, and do it.
Here's the issue, Fit Mom: I DON'T WANT TO! What all of these "What's Your Excuse" internet images propogate is a message of shame sent from a stranger on the other side of the computer screen who does not know you, your desires, or your circumstances. These messages make an attempt to shame the reader into feeling as though they have to engage in the same physical fitness pursuit as those depicted in the picture. Let's stop right here and make one thing perfectly clear: no one is diminishing the accomplishments of the folks pictured in these memes. The shameful messaging disguised as inspiration is not their fault. They merely did what we all hope to do in our lives which is to overcome extreme odds and reach success. Bravo to them! For me, I know there's no way I'm doing pull-ups with a wheelchair. I can't imagine the type of physical, mental, and emotional strength required to RUN when you've had your legs amputated. And I know you won't find me in the weight room when I'm 90 (Let's go ahead and check Papaw for steriods, though, huh).
It's not their fault. It's ours. We the internet. We the people of cyberland. Because the internet has connected people across the globe like never before a feeling has emerged that we should all be held to the same expectations for diet, fitness, jobs, and so on*. The fact might just be that your "excuse" is that you have no interest in getting fit or running or pull-ups or lifting weights. Those aren't excuses. Those are reasons. "I don't want to" is all the reason we need.
We need to realize that life was meant to be lived in such a way that we optimize every moment of our experience. Life is meant to be LIVED!!!! We've got to do what we love every second of the day or at least make an honest effort to attempt to turn even the worst moments into enjoyment and pleasure. That is what optimal experience is all about. Life is not meant to be lived based on excuses. Excuses mean that you are looking at a circumstance and justifying your decision to NOT participate in that action. NO. Look for reasons TO take part in everything you do. So you don't enjoy running. Wonderful. You don't need an excuse not to run. You just need to understand the reason for choosing to do the other activities that you do enjoy.
Do what you want. Do what you love. Do what makes you happy. Do it all for a reason. Don't live your life based on excuses because excuses are based on negativity. Encounter every moment with purpose and ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" When confronted with options, don't look at it as needing to make an excuse not to choose one. Instead make an effort to understand the reason for choosing the optimal path.
See you next week.
P.S.: Excuses are perfectly acceptable for use by introverts like me when invited to large social gatherings.
*Next Opportunity Events, LLC does not endorse the use of the phrase "and so on" because it is lazy writing that Mike uses when he has run out of examples.