Remember Something New Everyday: Lessons from Life’s Classroom
I’ve been exercising pretty consistently since the beginning of the year. Thanks to a motivating and supportive partner who helps me follow through with a commitment that we both made to get up and move, I’ve been able to make time for exercise between 4-7 days a week (leaving room for when life happens), mixing it up by incorporating cardiovascular exercise with strength training.
Although I’m trying to find ways to continue to push myself, I have to admit that I’d settled into a certain routine, so I sought out the help of a trainer.
During the first part of the (thankfully free) consultation I explained what some of my interests were, what I’ve done in the past, and what kinds of things I was looking forward to accomplishing in the future. The latter part of the consultation involved me going through a variety of exercises under the supervision of the trainer so he could watch my form, assess strength and comfort levels, etc.
And then came the assessment….
After watching me perform several upper and lower body exercises, the trainer came to a conclusion. Although I work pretty well when it comes to training my larger muscle groups, it turns out that I’ve been neglecting the smaller ones. Strengthening those will help to increase my overall fitness, and I need to do some real work in order to make sure I reach that goal.
Although I thought I had things pretty figured out in this area, it appears that I have so much more to learn. I have to challenge what I thought I knew, and seek out and receive more help and new information in order to grow.
And it struck me.
Not immediately, but after thinking about this on the drive back home, I realized that my experience at the gym reminded me of my journey through life as an aspiring humanitarian because this road is an ongoing process of learning and development.
It is an ongoing process of learning and unlearning; of challenging misinformation and seeking out new information to get a clearer and more inclusive version of the “truth”.
We won’t know that some things we think we know might not be entirely true unless we have experiences which might contradict that information. At those times (because there are/will be several) each of us has to decide what we’ll do with what we’ve learned and/or experienced.
In terms of my exercise, I thought I was doing pretty well, but upon hearing about where I needed to increase my focus, I can choose to either accept and incorporate the new advice into my life, or stick with my previous routine and go on as if I have it all figured out.
I have also experienced and continue to experience people and things that challenge what I think I know on my journey to become more humane to those around me. Whether it be through discovering unearned privileges I possess, contradicting a prejudice or stereotype, or generally just doing something new, I am on a constant path of choosing (or not choosing which is also a decision) what to do when I reach those crossroads.
People are at the root of all of this growth. We need each other to learn from each other, and to learn more about ourselves. How can we do that? Through experience and communication.
One challenge I’m setting for myself is to strive to remain aware of which routine I’m sticking to when faced with new information that could expand my worldview.
We are all works in progress, but that night at the gym reminded me of how life can help us remember something new everyday, in case we forget.
Grace & Peace,
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW