Dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t is exactly how I felt this past summer when I was invited to a socially distanced outside gathering by an associate. And yes I have to say it like that just in case someone from my job reads this blog. To be honest this associate was fairly new to my life and her friends and family at that time were even more aloof to me. Needless to say I was walking into foreign territory.
The thing about foreign territory is that isn’t always housed with allies. So I was on guard that day observing, calculating and taking mental note of everyone’s demeanor and responses only speaking when necessary, my normal behavior, when I’m on uncharted grounds. To be curt the reckless chatter and yesterday’s gossip were of no interest to me anyway so I figured a better use of my time could be made by working on some lower leg mobilization and stretching while I was there.
My actions were met with confused eyes, as I knew they would, but at my age I’ve learned to stop caring about what others think especially those who seemingly didn’t view their own wellness as a priority. Unfortunately I had observed that too while I was there. I was surrounded by women of all ages and no I didn’t know their health markers but by the eye test it was evident that most of them were struggling in their fitness journey.
After while when mostly everyone had a little “courage juice” in them I was asked what exactly was I doing. Purposefully I gave a blanketed response anticipating that no one would ask anything further. But this didn’t happen. One question led to the next and then to the next engaging and exciting me more and more leading me to believe there was true interest in the topic of health and nutrition among these women. And by all means I, on my white horse with harp music playing in the background, was going to be their wellness savior and help guide them back to the path of optimal living. Not!
It wasn’t before long that a familiar feeling had come over me. A feeling that wrecked me as an overweight teen and almost made me bitter as an adult. These women had begun mocking me by pretending to be inquisitive and interested in the things I was saying. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t catch on to their sneering more quickly but my zeal for wellness and healthy living had blinded me to their sarcasm.
Isn’t it funny how things come full circle I thought in that moment. Here I was 25 years later at the opposite end of the health continuum only to be subjected to the laughs of others for my health choices. Remarkably personal growth filled my heart with empathy for these women instead of anger. You see I had been in their shoes before. There was time I was oblivious in understanding or recognizing how the poor lifestyle choices I was making were subtracting years off my life. I like them had undervalued my health.
Saddened by their ignorance and not their response I quieted myself and began to reflect on what just occurred. I let that moment resonate and I was led to this simple conclusion…sometimes people just aren’t ready to hear truth.