Living Well: My Personal Story – John

During my junior year of college, I initiated a venture that tested my patience, rung my motivation, and stretched my mind. I intended it to be for my own good; I assured myself it would benefit me long-term. I insisted, “When you are 40 years old, you will be thanking yourself.”

Me in the park with friends during my freshman year.

Me in the park with friends during my freshman year.

Physical training had yet to grace my 20 year old, junior collegiate limbs: I enrolled as a soft, skinny, 170 pound freshman who was ignorant to his less-than-average appearance and physical abilities. When I stepped on the scale for Lifetime Fitness, my sophomore fitness class, I noticed 25 extra pounds on my body; I was unaware of my weight gain – and the unawareness scared me. My stereotypical guy-overconfidence shrank and I started climbing at the local rock-climbing gym with my one of my best friends. The gym’s yoga classes and climbing dropped 15 pounds off my stomach, built some strength, and granted peace of mind.

The end of my sophomore year solidified my interest in rock-climbing, and I wanted to approach the hobby seriously. Health and fitness research filled my free summer hours to prepare me for my junior year weight training class – which I was certain would improve my climbing. My diet changed during the summer, taking away five more pounds; my perspective also changed, instilling a desire to change my 40 year old self – making climbing a secondary motive. I began making decisions meant to improve my quality of life 20 years later: I pressed through my homework as hard as I pressed the dumbbells.

My priorities as well as my body changed during my junior year. The gym’s yoga class and personal meditation built inner-strength; weight training built physical strength. Introspection introduced me to someone I had yet to meet – myself. People became my priority; learning and fitness opened a door to my immediate community. Schooling taught me how to learn, and weight training taught me how to apply what I learn – consistent physical fitness taught me discipline.

There were innumerable occasions in the weight room when I questioned myself and what I was doing: “If you think this is hard now, what will this be like in 50 years? Do you really believe this is a lifetime endeavor?” That doubtful question almost always appeared during the last repetition of a weight. There exists a brief moment in weight training during the last push when you are convinced that you cannot push once more; it is in that moment that you must push once more because that is when you will grow, when you will see progress. That weight training philosophy manifested outside the weight room: when I could not read another page or complete another assignment, that was when I knew I must push once more because that is when I will grow, when I will see progress. That life philosophy inculcated discipline: I became strong in body and mind.

In retrospect, this venture strengthened my patience, grew my motivation, and expanded my mind. It proved beneficial, and I am Senior Yearcertain it effected me long-term – I thank myself today. Prior to my experience, I lived in the shadow of my potential: I lived unaware of my capabilities. Many of us are capable of things greater than we perceive. It is as though our subconscious disrupts any inkling of motivation to experience our true potential. Unless one is perfect, he has room for improvement; I found room in my health – do you have any hidden space to fill?

6 comments on “Living Well: My Personal Story – John

  1. christy says:

    Hey John….proud of you…I remember you when you were a freshman. So shy, glad to see your confidence come through…

    • John says:


      It has certainly been a while; I still remember your hospitality to us youngin’s. I am happy to know you have come across this. Christ has been chipping away at me, transforming me for some time now. Thanks for being there in those days.


  2. Thanks for the post! “If you think this is hard now, what will this be like in 50 years?” -John. I really appreciate how it is tied to something much greater than the appearance of it just being an exercise. It is amazing how things are so connected — an exercise regimen, if perceived in a way, can help you in mental fortitude for the rest of your life if you allow it! It makes me think of this quote: “If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong“ – Thomas Jefferson. Great post John.

    • John says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, Stephen. Jefferson’s philosophy on the matter, as you mentioned, was one I was acquainted with beforehand; but, experiencing it for myself allowed me to understand the depth and weight of it. I’m caused to wonder at times how much untapped potential some of my academic acquaintances, and some even of my closet friends, possess. The curious thing about ignorance is, you never know when you are – and I was. It took a humbling step onto the scale for me to realize a change was needed, though, the change that occurred proved not only different than expected, but also better. Your eyes on this post are appreciated, sir.

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