A few months ago I wrote about a friendly fitness challenge that was presented to me. It was jumping up on this metal frame square thing in my local gym, affectionately called “the box”. My work out buddy at the time jumped on and off this thing like it was not even a thing. The first time I tried to do it, my brain screamed out to my body that this was not going to happen. Then it became a challenge; me to conquer the box.
There was something about both of my feet leaving the ground at the same time that every fiber of my being resisted. I did accept this challenge and took steps to address this resistance I received from my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I respect that my brain has kept me safe in many situations where my body failed, like tripping while out hiking or starting to fall then catching myself. I travel and live and hike and adventure alone, so caution is paramount to my safety and well-being. I hike with about two days of snacks, gear, first-aid and other supplies just in case I have to spend the night on trail. I am generally over prepared and, fortunately, I have been kept safe and sound thus far. Back to the box.
To over come my bodies resistance, I started training. I practiced just jumping with both feet off the ground. Still, my brain did not like it. I then chose smaller things, like a pallet at work, to jump onto. The goal was for both feet leave the ground at the same time. The challenge is that my brain resists this action! Imagine me walking around, or in the back room at work, and then I just jump up onto some random pallet or step. Yeah, it was a thing. I was bound and determined to overcome this hurdle.
Once I got comfortable with small jumps I sought out something a bit higher; the furniture at my house. While I am eternally grateful and humbled to live in such an awesome place and have nearly everything I need, the couches and chairs are old and not in the best of shape. But, they are soft and just high enough that I can practice jumping on them. I use the chair in my bedroom so nobody can see me. I mean, really? There I go again jumping on and off the couch? Yup, there I go. Strange behavior, but very low chance I could hurt myself. I found the energy and opportunities to practice jumping onto my furniture. It still took some effort to set my brain aside and let my body do this new thing. But, it did.
Once I felt like I had that down, I used the work out benches in the gym. You know, the ones most folks sit or lay down on to use weights. These benches are lower than “the box”, slightly softer, and I can use other things in the gym to catch myself should I start to waiver. I felt like I needed bare feet so that I could feel the ground and feel the bench. I did it over and over again, jumping all over the gym. Thankfully, nobody else was there as I think I would have looked pretty stupid. I jump like an elephant, with no grace or form. I feel like one, too, as I feel heavy and awkward. But, I continued to practice.
I moved one of the benches in front of “the box” as a way to desensitize myself to the hard metal of the box, which just shouts PAIN and INJURY to me. I would look at the box, but jump onto the bench. I did this for a while, considering the height difference between the box and the benches, which was really minimal. I continued to practice.
Then, a few days ago, I was working out and I felt like it was time to take on the box. I had some pretty gnarly tunes blasting in my ear and my energy was high. I did not stop to think very long and I targeted the box. My mind was in the right place, my body felt strong, and it was time. I jumped onto the box! Yes, I really did jump onto the box from the floor. I made it and nothing bad happened. I did it! I conquered the dreaded box! I was proud and I did it again and then did it again.
The next time I went to work out, I jumped on the box again. I wanted to be sure this was not some sort of anomaly. Yup, I jumped onto the box. Not with much grace or form, as I still feel heavy and awkward, but dammit I got on that box. I danced around on top of that box and celebrated. Just me, alone in the gym. My workout partner is gone and not around to celebrate. It was, after all, his challenge for me to conquer the box. To celebrate I danced on that box. In your face!
I accepted that challenge, I met the challenge, and I feel pretty darned good. I have very little grace or form, and quite frankly I am happy to just get onto the box and not hurt myself. I am proud to be a 56 year old woman who can jump on the box. Well, I also do cardio and weights, but that does not seem to be such a huge deal. I am a 56 year old woman who is learning life lessons, growing emotionally and spiritually, continuing this journey of a lifetime. I continue to be a work in progress, living and learning and adding dimension and depth to my life. I am a lot of things and now I am someone who conquered the box.
Today I will celebrate the box and my achievement therein. Cheers to meeting a challenge, no matter how large or small, how personal or public, or at what age we succeed.
Take that, box!
Cheers to moving on to the next goal!