Your Own Person

Posted: December 4, 2013 in Advice, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Neil Young

One of my favorite music artists is Neil Young.  In my opinion, his best music was written at a time of in the US where we were at war in Vietnam and there was a quickly evolving youth movement.  Because of this, many of his songs have real social meaning to them unlike today’s garbage.

One of his greatest is the song “Old Man”.  The song is about a man Neil bought a ranch from.  Through talking to him, Neil realized that their lives aren’t too dissimilar and that in many ways, the needs of a young man are the same as those of an older man.  Although the song itself doesn’t apply as much, one line always hits home for me:

“It doesn’t mean that much to me, to mean that much to you”

I think this always hits home to me because it is how I try to live my life.  There are few people in this world that I actually want acceptance from.  Those are my closest friends and family.  The rest are friends and acquaintances but their acceptance is not something I worry about.  For example, my coworkers think the fact that I eat the same lunch everyday is weird.  Does it bother me?  Not at all.  I think the fact that they refuse to take care of themselves is weird.  When they go to lunch, I stay behind at the office with my baked chicken, apple and pistachios.  Do they talk about me at lunch and mock my eating habits?  Probably on occasion.  Do I care?  Nope.

Every damn day

Every damn day

I was reading one of the recent “CrossFit is dangerous” articles on the train to NYC for a work function while listening to “Old Man” and it got me thinking.  It got me thinking about what we do at CrossFit 717 each day and life in general.  And I came to some conclusions.

People spend too much time worrying about stupid shit.  For every “CrossFit is dangerous” article there were about five “No it’s not and here’s why” defense articles.  I actually felt sorry for all the people who spent a second of their day defending themselves and their exercise of choice to the masses.  It showed the world that they cared what other people thought about their lifestyle.  But why?  Who really gives a shit if some dumbass blog-writing troll thinks what you do is dangerous.  Do you like doing it?  Is it enjoyable for you?  Is it legal? If you answered yes, isn’t that all that matters?

We have read ad nauseum from the defenders that everything we do in life carries a risk (as if we needed to be reminded).  To this point I would bet that most of our worst injuries have been doing something other than CrossFit.  None of that should matter though.  We all come to 717 to exercise and a good number compete.  But for some of us, CrossFit is so much more.  It is a group of friends we never knew we had.  It is an outlet for our everyday problems and a place we can effectively “check out” of life for an hour.  It is a sense of community we can’t find elsewhere.  It is a group of like-minded individuals coming together to help our community in times of prosper and in times of need.  The CrossFit community is more than just a “dangerous” exercise methodology.  The haters don’t recognize this.  And again, who cares?  I don’t care what anyone thinks about me being a (former) CrossFitter and you shouldn’t either.  As long as you like what you are doing, that is all that matters.  Life is too short to waste your time defending your exercise plan.  Which brings me to my next point…

Relax, it's just exercise.

Relax, it’s just exercise.

Life is full of trolls and enough people feed them already.  You don’t need to.  The internet has created an entirely new sub-species of human.  Trolls used to be confined to internet forums but have now made their way out into the general internet and even into real life.  This is largely due to the free blog sites out their like WordPress, Tumblr, etc. where every self-righteous nincompoop can create a blog and share their opinion.  Yes, me included.  Combine stupid opinions with social media and you get someone’s stupid opinion going “viral” for everyone to read or hear about in the real news.  And there is the problem.  We now have someone who is not an expert on anything (except stirring the pot) getting national distribution because their opinion has tweaked a certain group of people.  In our case, competitive exercisers.

The reality is that most people write these types of thing to get a reaction and to get publicity.  They know their opinion will light a fire under the group they are attacking and do it just so people will engage them in the argument.  I have done it on this very blog and on Facebook. Guilty as charged.  Sometimes that is not a bad thing.  In order to evolve we need to challenge accepted norms and the resulting discussions can provide some good viewpoints on each side of the argument.  But feeding trolls who are obviously uneducated on the topic they wrote about is just a waste of time.  Don’t bring yourself to that level.

troll

The more you feed them, the bigger they get

People need to stop justifying what makes them happy.  We all like different things.  What I like is certainly different than what you like.  What do I like you ask?  I like watching and reading science fiction, including comic books.  I like building 1/35 scale models of WWII era tanks and painting them to look battle-worn.  I like watching horror movies.  I like wearing bow ties. Are these things traditionally considered nerdy?  Possibly.  Do I give a fuck?  You know the answer.  These are things that make me happy.  I enjoy doing them.  As long as they aren’t illegal, I don’t need to defend that to anyone.

CrossFit and its variants (weightlifting, strongman, endurance, etc.) are one of the things that make us happy.  I can see it in all of your exhausted faces as I sit on my lazy ass.  After you finish the workout and catch your collective breath, smiles start to emerge.  The camaraderie that started the training session often ends it too.  High fives are given and encouragement is shouted (although some of you do the awkward “high five meets handshake”. Just sayin’).  We LIKE what we are doing or we wouldn’t come back each day.

Yep, I built this and don't give a fuck what you think about it

Yep, I built this and don’t give a fuck what you think about it

Stay off social media.  Wait, nevermind.  I take that one back.  You all entertain me too much with your selfies and life updates…

I hope this blog hits home to some of you like the line from “Old Man” did to me.  Bottom line is this: It shouldn’t mean that much to you what others think about what you enjoy to do.  The more you acknowledge their opinions, the more you will drag yourself down.  Keep doing what you love and ignore the haters.  Their opinion doesn’t matter anyway.

In the end, you will be happier for it.

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