Recently the Life List Club held their second Milestone Party recapping where we’re at on our goals. And a party isn’t a party without prizes! One of the prizes was a blog swap with one of my commenters, so I’m very very pleased to introduce Marcy Kennedy from Life at Warp 10. Marcy is awesome in every way possible, and those of you who’ve been reading here for awhile will immediately know why I feel such a kinship with her! And you can find me reveling her readers with some the story of how I met my honey bunny, so please drop by and say hi! Here’s Marcy!
You Can Do Anything for 30 Seconds
I’ve broken both my arms (not at the same time) and multiple toes, sprained my right ankle three times, torn the cartilage in my left ankle, and dislocated my shoulder, and if there’s a door I can walk into or something to trip over or slip on, I will. It’s safe to say I could be a founding member of a clumsiness support group.
So when my husband and I needed to lose weight and bought the P90X workout series, I had visions of ending up on a first name basis with the ER staff. If you’ve ever seen the videos, you know that P90X is the scariest workout imaginable.
The people in the 12 videos do airborne clap push-ups. They do an hour and a half of yoga with exercises where you flip your feet back over your head to touch the floor (what kind of a person is that flexible?), and an ab routine that makes you long for normal crunches.
But “the mother of all P90X workouts” is plyometrics. It’s an hour of jump-training cardio exercises. The instructor broke each exercise into 30 seconds to one minute moves because he claimed, “You can do anything for 30 seconds.”
And I thought, “Yuh-huh. Maybe you can, but I can’t do that.”
Until I tried it. What looked impossible when I thought about it as an hour of pain became manageable in those 30 seconds. I could do those crazy hopping lunges for 30 seconds. I could do the wall squats and chair dips.
Normally I’m a planner who has contingency plans for her contingency plans and looks ahead, but sometimes, when you hit the P90X moments of life, those moments that hurt but also end up building character and strength, the way to get through them is to take 30 seconds at a time.
When my husband enlisted in the Marine Corps, a lot of people thought he’d never make it. The Marine Corps’ boot camp is the longest of any branch of the service—14 weeks. For those 14 weeks, you have no contact with your family, and your body is pushed to its physical and emotional limits. The drill instructors scream in your face about how worthless you are, you hike 15 miles carrying 50-60 lbs of gear, and if the DIs don’t give you permission to speak, you can’t ask to go to the washroom. My husband went chow to chow (meal to meal) because going day to day was too hard. That was his 30 seconds.
My neighbor while I was growing up was like an uncle to me. Just before he moved in down the street from us, he’d lost his driver’s license for repeatedly driving drunk. It was the point where he admitted he was an alcoholic and needed help. He once told my mom that he couldn’t think about not drinking for the rest of his life. He had to think about taking it one day, one hour at a time. He could do it for one hour. That was his 30 seconds, and he’s been sober ever since.
It’s the same way with anything in life that seems overwhelming and impossible. When we take it one box at a time, one application at a time, one page at a time, one breath at a time, it’s manageable. Not fun, but manageable. What’s better, doing something for 30 seconds proves we can do what we thought we couldn’t. Maybe we can even do it for longer. And maybe one day we’ll be able to look back and see how much better we are for surviving it.
Like the corny old joke says, “How do you eat an elephant?”
“One bite at a time.”
What’s your 30 seconds? What elephant seemed impossible to eat until you took it one bite at a time?
Marcy Kennedy is a fantasy author who also writes suspense/thriller short stories and works as a freelance writer for magazines, newspapers, and non-profits and a freelance editor for both businesses and individuals. Her current work-in-progress is a co-written historical fantasy about Amazons. When she’s not wrestling unruly commas, she spends her time with her equally nerdy husband, her Great Dane, and more cats than she’s willing to admit to in public. You can visit her at her blog, Life At Warp 10.