Be the Tortoise

Life is long. It is a big ass ball of yarn knocked down a big ass mountain. It unravels without our permission and tumbles until the last strand goes limp. People, rightly, lose sight of this. How could we possibly take in the abstract whole of a life yet lived? We irrationally overvalue the now, and criminally devalue the future. And in the race to cram value into our decaying boats trying to outrun inevitable tempest of death, we forget just how long the trip is.

Whether you're trying to eat healthier, exercise more, or learn a skill, stop trying to cram it into a weekend. Your body didn't turn into a pile of shit over night. The gym isn't a defibrillator to undo college. If I miss a couple days at the gym, I don't care. If I eat like shit for a weekend, it doesn't matter. I'm in it for the long haul. Don't punish yourself for the little failures. Create a system you could sustain until you need a pacemaker. 

The idea of a goal weight or body mass is inherently problematic. Best case scenario, you hit your goal. Then what? The end isn't a weight. The end is a renewal of the project. My goal is to exercise until the day before I die. I read two pages today on the train. Doesn't matter. I will read a room full of books before presbyopia sets in. 

No matter how small your contribution, on a long enough timeline, you end up with something massive. They key is consistency and sustainability. Most people don't have time, inclination, or vanity necessary to work out six days a week. But they all try it on January 2. And for the three weeks after that fateful New Year's resolution, they stick to it. Instead, I implore you to shoot for 2-3 days a week for the rest of your life. Diets are no different. People militantly ban delicious foods from their diet and swear to eat nothing but celery and rice cakes until they reach their goal weight. This is your diet: could you eat the food you ate today, everyday, for the rest of your life? Would you be healthy? Morbidly obese? Starving?

Pull back the lens. It's a long life. Get the most out of it and stop hoping to hit the scratch off jackpot. There's no magic diet or workout machine. You have to eat oatmeal and do chin-ups for the rest of your life. Sorry. You're going to have to do a few things many many times. So get it in your head now. You're not going to fix anything today. Or tomorrow. Or this year. You're not even going to solve it this decade. But you'll be well on your way. 

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