Let me lay out my little judgy confession right here:
In some immature attempt to help myself feel superior throughout my gym-going years, I've occasionally looked at folks who are going 2.5 miles an hour on the treadmill with ... disdain? With a little eye roll. With a "really? You call that exercise?"
Now, in these moments, I have completely wiped from my memory my *own* slow days, as if I've never been the person showing what seems to be very little effort. I've also laid aside, in those judgy moments, the Lindsay that I know and love. The one who understands that people have bad days and good, that they have different abilities, goals, backgrounds, futures.
And that Lindsay -- the kinder one -- often does chime in when I've had these judgy thoughts to give me a good smacking. Like "girl, *what* the hell do you think you're doing there, thinking that person isn't as good as you?"
why the hell would i judge?
Of course the answer is insecurity. Of *course* it is. Because I know that I'm not naturally inclined to be active, that I'm afraid I'll lose whatever gym mojo I've gained and give in to the lazy person lurking inside me. When I gain my little footholds at the gym, I rarely do so with confidence. This question resonates constantly: "will it last?"
And while I'm not bullying these people who I judge, I'm taking on that persona of a bully within my own thoughts: belittling their efforts to make me feel better about my own, which I apparently have little faith in.
and it finally clicked
It was just yesterday that it clicked with me. No particular reason. I'd gotten my ass to the gym *after* work. It was unexpected, but I had the energy and found myself with the motivation, so I said why the hell not?
I got on my elliptical machine and pushed my hardest. Afterward, I walked the indoor track for a cool-down.
I walked slowly to really enjoy the restfulness and peace. I was listening to Sufjan (Age of Adz). And all around me were folks walking. It looked to be their primary exercise that evening.
There was one guy in particular: young, heavy-set, walking the whole loop at a steady pace. And instead of thinking "wow, shouldn't he be pushing harder? Maybe with some weights? Maybe walking faster?", I thought "This guy is taking time out of his day to dedicate to activity. He said to himself that activity is important enough to reserve time for."
And it was just like that, that I realized it's not the level of activity that's important, it's the dedication to it.
I, of all people, should know how hard it is to bring exercise into a daily routine. It's an effort. It's an action in and of itself. And it should be lauded. It should *not* put someone in the position of being ridiculed -- not for any reason, not even privately, not even in my own thoughts.