There’s a countdown app on my phone that says there are 50 days until the CPU (Canadian Powerlifting Union) Nationals.
I’m registered. The trip is paid for. I worked my ass off to qualify, and I got it done.
But right now? Right now all I want to do is withdraw, because I am not ready.
My squat isn’t where I imagined it would be. My bench press is all kinds of awful – it’s inconsistent, it’s the weak point relative to the other two lifts, and it’s not progressing. My deadlift, the strongest of the three lifts, looks horrific and I’ve developed the bad habit of setting up the lift and then gently “booping” the bar away from my body with my shins when I go to grab it.
I need better technique. I need practice. I need to get stronger. I need more time to recover from the car accident that happened in fucking JUNE. I need to lose weight.
I am not good enough. Yet.
But let’s back up for a second, to fifteen years ago, where I never, ever in a million years thought I would be competing in anything athletic. Like, NEVER. Like I would go WAY out of my way to not get involved in any kind of physical activity. Or to ten years ago, when I had lost 100lbs and I was just getting started as a personal trainer – I thought it didn’t matter whether or not I accomplished anything great as long as I was out there participating, dragging my middle-of-the-pack butt over the finish lines of fun runs, community triathlons, and later on, obstacle races. Or even to five years ago, when my weight had ballooned again and I was on the brink of giving up on everything.
I never imagined that one day, at age 40, I’d be competing in anything at the national level. That’s bananas shit.
So here I am, in spite of everything…and all I want to do is run away because I’m not ready.
Here’s the problem with “not ready” though: I will never be ready. I will never be where I want to be before I get on that platform – if I wait until I’m ready, it will never happen. There will always be a couple more kilos there, technique to tweak, strength to gain, injuries to overcome. There will never be a moment where I say, “that’s it, the work is all done” and waltz onto that platform without a hint of consternation. “Ready” is an illusion. “Ready” is fake news.
So here’s what’s going to happen instead. I’m going to follow my program, get my workouts in for the next seven weeks, and when Feb 20 rolls around I am going to get on that platform the way I am. I won’t be ready and that’s ok because on Feb 21 (or, let’s face it, Feb 24 or 25) it’ll be time to get back to work to qualify for CPU Nationals 2019. I will have learned some lessons and have new numbers to chase.
We’re going into a week where typically I sit down with a lot of people and have a lot of discussions about New Year’s resolutions, and their dreams about what the next year could look like if they could just get rolling on making them happen. Most of those people will tell me that they’re motivated, that it’s time to get down and get to work…and they’ll get some instruction once they’re in shape and ready to take it to the next level. But you know what usually happens to them – “ready” never happens because, well, life. And because change is hard.
Here’s the bad news: time is going to keep marching on whether or not you go after what you want. It doesn’t make a shred of difference to anyone except you.
Want the good news now? The good news is, there is virtually no downside to grabbing the bull by the balls and going for it. If you don’t succeed, so what? You’ll know a little bit more about yourself, you’ll know one path that doesn’t work, and you can dust yourself off and keep trying, or go after something else.
But if you wait until you’re ready – ready to get in shape, ready to level up, ready to compete (in whatever; this theory applies to pretty much anything) you will not move forward. “Ready” will never happen because there will ALWAYS be more to do. Might as well jump in with both feet, commit to the process, and enjoy the journey.