I remember reading a commencement speech that Steve Jobs delivered to the class of 2005 at Stanford University. To paraphrase, he said that he would look into the mirror and ask himself, “If this was the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
Now let’s be honest, Mr. Jobs was encouraging the class of 2005 to make wise choices for a career or occupation, but here’s a twist on the concept of your last day on Earth: If you woke up and realized that today was going to be the last day of your life, would you go to the gym? I imagine that the most popular answer to that question would be along the lines of, “Oh hell no!”
I don’t dispute the answer, but I do think that it’s that type of thinking that has the general population in the poor state of health that it’s currently in.
What I mean when I say ‘that type of thinking’ is, basically people want to enjoy life. After all, what sounds better, going to lunch with your friends for a burger and fries or going to the gym? Going home after work for a glass of wine and ordering pizza, or going to the gym? Waking up Saturday morning and cooking waffles for the family, or going to the gym?
If we take the path of least resistance, which most of us do, we go for the pizza, the wine, and the waffles. After all, it’s all about enjoying life, right? Especially if your other choice is going to the gym. (This is where you gaze up to the ceiling, raise your arms in the air and say out loud, “What a revelation”! Hah! I do have my moments.)
However, are you really enjoying life? Do we realize that it’s hard to enjoy life when you have a lot of back pain, achy joints, shortness of breath, lack of mobility, headaches, and being tired all the time?
Your self esteem could be a little wonky as well. Are you happy with what you see when you look into a mirror? How about when you’re trying to wiggle into a pair of jeans you bought just 6 months ago?
Now I’ll be honest, if today was my last day on earth, I wouldn’t go to the gym either. However, this isn’t a commencement speech, this is life. The general plan doesn’t include dying today, or anytime soon. Which means you can’t always be thinking about, “You only live once” when you’re trying to make a sound decision about whether you should go to the gym or go to happy hour. Or should you? How long do you think you’ll be around if you keep taking the path of least resistance? Again, lets remind ourselves, we only live once.
I know that modern medicine has a way of keeping some people alive into their 80’s or 90’s, despite a number of maladies, but when I’m 85, I don’t want to be in a nursing home with 2 or 3 people holding me up by the arms, walking me to the bathroom just so I can take a crap. (That’s what my buddies at the gym are for. OHHHHH! [sorry].)
20 years from now I want to enjoy life just as I am now, with very few aches and pains, looking good, decent mobility, and quality sleep. That means the ‘ol line of, “I’m just trying to enjoy life” is just a lie and a lousy excuse for not putting in the work you need to in order to truly enjoy life. (Oh, oh! That’s two revelations in one post. Your head is about to explode!!!)
I’m guessing that it all comes down to a decision that you have to make for yourself on how you want to live. What quality of life do you want to maintain, because you’re going to have to provide the maintenance.
Do you want to live truly enjoying life, or do you want to be in a state where you’re driving yourself around in one of those motorized shopping carts just to get your groceries? If you chose the former instead of the latter, than you’re just going to have to make wiser choices about getting your booty into the gym. Allow yourself maybe one slip-up a week. That’s it.
Also, you’re gonna have to stop eating like there’s no tomorrow. That’s because there are alot of tomorrows ahead of you and you want to live well. Actually you want to live fit.
At least until we have undisputed evidence that the apocalypse is upon us. See ya tomorrow.