Walking into my teeny tiny gym today, I found that both of my beloved all motion trainer machines were occupied. I’ll admit, upon seeing the two
biddies lovely ladies getting their burn on what I have decided are my machines, I had a quick thought of just turning around and going home. I mean, how else was I supposed to burn my 700 calories in 60 minutes?
This was disappointment number 1 – my expectations for what was going to happen at the gym were not met. And I had a choice – let those broken expectations dictate what I was going to do, essentially send me packing, or reconfigure the expectations into something I could work with.
Well, one of the two ellipticals which stand right next to the amts was open. Now to me, the amt is like the elliptical’s older, cooler, hotter brother. the elliptical is great and all – he’s sweet, cute, and funny, but, well, once you meet the amt, you just can’t help wanting to be his girlfriend (don’t worry, elliptical, I won’t forget you – we’ll always be friends. it’s not you – it’s me.) That was the one I went with, and I planted myself on the elliptical. I was still feeling disappointed (especially with having to be right next to the lady enjoying my amt) but I thought I should try to move forward – life is full of disappointment. It has been a while since I have been on the elliptical. Like probably a couple of years. So I start moving my feet a bit, and let me tell you, I forgot how weird the stride is on those things. That is not really a movement that I make anywhere else in my life, and I didn’t care for it. In fact, I really disliked it.
Here is where I hit disappointment number 2 – my new plan, which was designed to help me overcome the disappointment of losing the first plan, was uncomfortable and not anywhere near meeting my old expectations. Again, I was faced with a choice – bail out on the cardio and go home, switch to the dreaded treadmill, or suck it up and keep going, knowing that it wasn’t going to be as good as I’d hoped, but at least it would be something. Taking a deep breath, I went with the third option and turned on the TV screen, only to be met squarely with:
Disappointment number 3. Apparently something wasn’t working with the cable, because USA, the channel I have grown very fond of watching while I work out, wasn’t working. At all. Black screen. Leaving only 3 other channels to choose from – ESPN (I don’t like sports) CNN (or the people interviewed on the 24 hour news stations) or NBC and the today show (which isn’t as bad as bamboo under my fingernails, but it isn’t usually a very pleasant experience for me.) Another disappointment, another choice. I could do twenty minutes and pretend like that was all the time I had planned on working out today, plug into my iPod which is in desperate need of some new workout music, or watch Meredith Vieira try again and again to be funny while invariably failing (I mean, for goodness sake, Matt Lauer wasn’t even there today, and he is the one thing I like about that show.)
I did a mental check with myself, realizing how many times my immediate decision would be to just quit. I thought to myself “good heavens, is this how I respond to ALL the disappointment in my life?” And, unfortunately, I think a good deal of it has been dealt with by freaking out, breaking down, railing at the world, and ultimately just giving up, rather than by calmly reviewing my options and choosing the one that, while it may not be what I wanted to do, will still get me SOMEWHERE instead of leaving me NOWHERE.
And so I stayed and watched Meredith and her coworkers talk their way through an hour of programming, cringing internally when she didn’t get Bill Cosby’s jokes or tried to make her own when she should have just let the man do what he does best. I had to keep going through the five minute cool down to get my 700 calories, but you know what? Five extra minutes didn’t kill me! (shocking, I know.)
The one disappointment that I couldn't overcome was the fact that I forgot to grab something to eat before I ran out the door this morning to workout (all that dreaming of my amt distracted me.) So by the time I finished my cardio, I couldn't stay and do any weights, as I felt like I was just this side of throwing up all over the gym floor (I don’t know about your gym, but they frown upon that where I go.)
So here is my challenge for, well, the foreseeable future, and I extend it to you as well: really look at how you react to disappointment, and what you do with it. Do you look at it, kick it a bit in anger, and then just sit down and do nothing about it? Do you look at it for a few minutes, shocked into staring, before stepping around it to find a new path? Do you simply step over it and move on without flinching? I’m going to be trying for option three.