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Purpose Posted on 12.09.2011 by greg.kuchyt

I am a strong proponent of the notion that modern society has messed up our inner “human animal”, to borrow a phrase from Harrer. We were not meant to sit for extended periods of time only to get in a vehicle and sit some more, to get home and sit some more in front of a TV. Pair that with the toxic stuff we call “food” these days and we are asking for a problem.
I have been struggling lately with my current situation due to my injury/recovery. I am now able to bear body weight on my leg and have worked to using one crutch, to walking on the orthopedic boot. I am aiming to be off the orthopedic boot by the weekend’s end. Good news abound; yet I still find myself fighting depression and discontent at times. This experience has been eye-opening to say the least. Foremost it makes me thankful for modern medical knowledge and technology. Back in the caveman days, this injury surely would have been the end of this guy, but I digress. I would say the most frustrating and introspective aspect of this process has been when I catch myself being the person I don’t want to be. I have found myself being jealous and petty at times over others who are unrestricted in their mobility. Why so then am I feeling this way when, as others urge me to consider, things are going well?
I have been thinking about this for the past few days and I didn’t understand it until I read the following:

“Exercise is not a thing we do to fix a problem — it is a thing we must do anyway, a thing without which there will always be problems. Exercise is the thing we must do to replicate the conditions under which our physiology was — and still is — adapted, the conditions under which we are physically normal. In other words, exercise is substitute cave-man activity, the thing we need to make our bodies, and in fact our minds, normal in the 21st century.”

This passage from Mark Rippetoe’s seminal text Starting Strength resonated with exactly how I have been feeling lately. To condense it down into a talking point; I feel like I lack purpose.
I spent years building myself to be an athlete that pushes his technical, mental, and physical limits. All of a sudden I am at a dramatically decreased level of physical output, mobility/personal freedom, and overall “normalcy”. I am less of a cave-man.
So hopefully I can find a resolution to these feelings in redefining a new purpose while I recover (which unfortunately is still a couple months out). I have a number of things I can try to focus on while on the mend, so I should take this opportunity while it is here rather than wasting it on feeling sorry for myself.
I am trying to remember that injuries are the “slow down” signs on the road of life. I feel like that should be on a greeting card or something…cliche, but true. For sure, while I can’t be as physically strong right now there are things to learn and ways to still be a stronger athlete/friend/man-person-thing. To that end I am trying to focus on recovering and coming back with new found clarity, knowledge and skills. For example, I have been looking at a lot of photography trying to expand my knowledge/idea base and helping others train for up and coming trips. As well, I am still able to train the undamaged parts of my body and have been seeing good progress in that area. So while I won’t be able to get to the goals I had set for this winter (see here), in the end I feel I will come out of this a stronger athlete/person. Perhaps physically “weaker”, but only temporarily. In this, hopefully I can find enough purpose to sate the human animal within me until I can regain my normalcy.