I wake up while it’s still dark.  The sun isn’t even of thinking of getting up for another hour.  I dress in my gym clothes or rather my former running gear.  I don’t run anymore.  The last pair of running shoes that I bought still look fairly new even 9 months after I bought them.

I step outside and it’s a typically hot and humid July summer morning.  This Saturday won’t bring any relief from the heat.  I drive down to the gym on the empty west Houston streets.  Last year I could run the three and half miles to the gym in about half an hour.  Not any more.

I get to the gym entrance just as they are opening up for the day and go in with the other early birds and go through my routine. Half an hour on the stationary bike and forty-five minutes on the weights and machines. The same routine four or five times a week depending on my schedule.  I’m thankful for the continuity of the routine. Routines and set schedules are a cold comfort but they are a comfort after what’s happened in the last year or so.

I suppose collapse might be a good description of 2015.  2015 was a year that I expected would be a breakout year for me.  I expected that things would not just get a little better but would totally improve in every aspect and in every imaginable way.  Unfortunately it seemed that things began badly and little by little progressed to be actively terrible.  The year culminated with my health taking a turn for the worse.

The gym has new exercise bikes.  Much better than the older bikes that they used to have but I can feel that this is no substitute for an hour-long run.  I’ve tried the thread mill and the elliptical machines and I still can’t do more than twenty minutes before the pain in my ankles forces me off.  Still, I feel better than I did in December when all I could do was limp from place to place.

I leave the bike all sweaty and I get some sense of satisfaction.  Proof that I’ve done something today.  I go into the weight room and look for an empty machine or a spot with weights without too many people.  My gym is fairly cool about things.  “Leave me alone and I will leave you alone” is the unspoken motto.  A few people like to show off.  They load up the weights as much as possible and make a great show of lifting or they show off their physique by wearing clothes that are too tight or too revealing but for the most part it’s work minded people looking to get in their sets and get back to their regular lives.

Work itself has been a challenge to say the least.  Whether it’s because of a sluggish economy or bad advertising of our company or just my depressed mood it has been a challenge to keep moving forward this year.  We snapped out of our doldrums around February and have been making progress since then, slow but steady progress.  I’ve been able to implement some routines to make the most of what sales leads that we do get and the results are slowly beginning to pay off.  Nothing spectacular but better than the nothing that I was producing before.  I feel happy with the progress but I dare not get slack and relax.

I’ve worked out my arms till everything aches.  I get that odd ropey almost limp spaghetti like feeling in my arms that let’s me know that the workout was effective and a little more progress was made today.

The sun’s out and as I drive home and at a red light I think about my situation.  I no longer have the big goals or checkpoints to check my progress that I wrote down in late 2014.  No lists or anything that tells me “yes you are getting ahead”.  That doesn’t work in this situation.  This year I have to measure success in another way.

I have to measure success in my willingness to get up every morning and to continue battling every day.  To take progress wherever or whenever it comes and to be adamant that no matter what happens that I keep fighting.

In the worst days of December, January, and February I would wake up dreading the coming day at work.  Would I sell anything today?  Would I get any sales leads?  Would I have a job at the end of the week?  I would feel depression and shame as my physical condition slowly deteriorated over the days and weeks and feeling powerless to make things better.

Little by little I’ve had to claw and scratch my way back.  I can’t look up yet and face the gigantic hill that I still have to climb.  The sheer size of it would sap my will.  It’s not time for that yet anyways.

I have to define success as my willingness to continue fighting every morning.  No matter what happens, no matter what setbacks may come up I am still willing to continue fighting.  It’s not the joy of competition or joy of battle that I once felt when I was younger.  Time was that I would savor a new challenge and see the advantages and rewards to be gained by testing myself and winning.  No this isn’t that.  This is a sort of grim determination that I will not quit.  I will not stop.  No matter what I will keep going.

Maybe one day I will be able to set up lofty goals and have grand plans again.  But for now this is what success looks like. Another day of fighting.  Another day of work.

One Thought on “success

  1. I’m with you. Some days (months, years…) the win is in just putting one foot in front of the other and not thinking about how far you have still to go. I think, for many people, this is the case right now. At least know that you’re not alone in struggling with the weight of the world or even just your own world–though that’s cold comfort, I know.

    I’m glad you’re blogging again. It’s a good outlet. One you probably need right now. And if nothing else, a lot of us out here enjoy reading your posts and have missed you.

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