2 AM, the gym is almost empty. Everyone in the place is there because they’ve got a good reason, or because they’ve got nowhere else to go. I’m one of the former, I hope. I’m training for the Big Hike. Any time you’re on a Stairmaster the metaphor is there; you know, walking and walking, going nowhere. Working so hard to go nowhere.
Then a thought strikes me, Stairmasters are everywhere, someone became a millionaire by inventing this.
So, that’s kind of interesting, right? I mean, things don’t pop up everywhere unless there’s a need for them. Even AoL could only pull that off for a few years. So that breeds the question, Why is there an overwhelming need for a way to climb stairs, without going anywhere, in a particularly compact manner?
Why does our society place such an emphasis on stairmastery? The answer, of course, is that the need to prepare for mountains significantly outpaces the occurrence of actual mountains. I’m not working hard to go nowhere, I’m working hard to that, when I get to somewhere, it won’t kick my ass.
The problem with mountains is that when they are there, they are there, and they’re not moving. The only way to be ready to climb the big ones is to climb small ones, or fake ones, whatever you can climb to practice for the push that really matters.
A lot of life is like that. We go through the boring (algebra, comma rules, etc.) so that we are ready for the things that matter. I wish people made that point more often, or earlier, or maybe just louder when I was younger. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.
The reward is pretty fun. I can climb half again as many stairs a third faster than I could when I started training. I did 40 reps on the inclined leg press with eight 45lb plates on it last week, and it wasn’t especially difficult. My 28th birthday is next week, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to break past 500 pounds before then — and not that thing people do where they bend their knees five degrees, and then call it a rep. The full motion. I’ve never, in my life, been at a place where I can move a quarter ton with my legs before. I still don’t feel like I can do it when I look at the plates all stacked on there. I mean, that’s lifting myself, plus another of me on each shoulder. But the math works out.
On a (thematically) related note, I’m now a member of the team over at First Site Guide. I make actual money blogging as Connor Rickett. There were a lot of blogs I didn’t get paid for leading to this moment. And a lot of blogs I did get paid for, floating around out there with other peoples’ names on them.
So anyway, what I’m getting at is that it’s not about the journey, and it’s not about the destination, it’s about developing the necessary musculature and endurance to decide on whatever journey or destination you want.