Limiting my expectations

Bodies. We all own one. They are beautiful and many splendored. However, in the last year, I have found mine has become more contentious. Possibly it always was, but now I want to do more with it, I am more aware of its limitations.

For most of my life, exercise was an endurance. Occasionally I went for a swim which is an exercise that I deeply love, but this was only ever occasional, owing to the faff involved of hair washing and draconian pool schedules. When I have been on holiday I have enjoyed cycling, but as an adult, I have never owned a bike. I have had memberships for multiple gyms (I paid hard for the level of guilt that a seldom-used gym membership can bring), but none of these exercises truly inspired me to maintain any sort of regular exercise, and then I found running.

Since I have begun running I have only maintained a couple of knee and ankle injuries, nothing particularly supreme or interesting. But this is the first time that an injury has prevented me doing what I love, and I was unaware of the level of frustration that this brings. It brings a good deal. I also run with people who are all really established runners. Most days this massively inspires me, some days this frustrates me as I can’t see a time where I will be anything like as good. It isn’t that it matters if I can run faster than others or not, just I am more aware of my limitations.

However, on the flip side of this, a couple of years ago I couldn’t run at all. Well, that is possibly an exaggeration, I could likely run about twenty-five meters then look as if I might require medical assistance. On my worst days now, even with somewhat suspect knees, I can always run between two to five kilometres. I find this theme occurring more and more in my life, I judge myself way harsher than anyone else ever would.

I wish I could isolate the moment in my life where rather than feeling that sense of childlike optimism, I felt a wave of disappointment in myself. Rather than falling down and getting back up to try again, I started setting standards lower to only achieve small things, as the disappointment of not achieving what I really wanted was too hard. Today a good friend asked me what I wanted to be. I am still pondering this, but to summarise my current thoughts – a lot more than I currently am.

Map Point. Where do I need to raise my expectations?

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