As a young girl I had a habit of over thinking and questioning what was happening around me. I was inquisitive and loved having things foreign to me explained, quizzing my parents on the things I observed them and others doing that caught my fascination. My habit of intense curiosity was often received with diplomatic answers - ʻDad has to go to work because they are the rulesʼ, ʻThose people running on the beach are doing it for funʼ and ʻmoney is what we need to have in order to buy things and do things we want.ʼ I remember nodding to answers such as these and filing the information in the ʻthings you do, just becauseʼ folder in my brain.
As a child my naivety, trusting nature and the fact I was relatively carefree, all made me feel quite safe and simply, just happy. Then I grew older and fell into a trap which many adolescents are subject to - I found myself being carried with the wave of false pretenses that promised a successful, ideal life - being beautiful, smart, fit and trim, and of course, being well-liked and popular.
As an individual who was innately good at over complicating things and who showed streaks of perfectionism, It made sense to me that if I harnessed the power of my mind to gain ultimate control I could create the perfect image of myself, inside and out. What had sparked in my mind at age fourteen took rapid flight, and before I knew It, my quest for a life of ʻideal purposeʼ saw me suddenly fall, then encapsulated me all at once, into anorexia and disordered eating ‒ and with it the delusions, anxiety, sense of failure, warped body image and loss of identity for the next four years.
It was through much help and many ups, downs and moments of selfreflection that I became strong enough to resurface out of the depths of my own personal abyss. After years of arguing about being stereotyped, a lack of individuality and decision making, it had suddenly occurred to me that I had been living a life that had been marketed to me through social media, movies and magazines and not one of self creation or determination.
After struggling for so long to maintain an unattainable image of my perfect self, I became burnt out. The only thing that became apparent was the confronting reality that deep down I was scared. Fearful of not knowing what I truly stood for and wanted to do in life, feeling as though I had a lack of passion and drive for anything in particular with no clear ʻpurposeʼ for my current situation and future. I had let the dream of a particular stereotype drive me into an even worse one, that came with a mental illness - and had let it consume me until I eventually didnʼt know how to be anything else.
I was lost and utterly confused about life. This concept of identity and purpose is a dilemma many of us can be consumed by on a daily basis, even if so on a subconscious level. Unfortunately in society today, a prevalence of mental health issues and a pressure for us to think, act and feel a certain way has surfaced, which in turn has bred a trend of ʻdoing things for the sake of doing soʼ in order to fit in with societal expectation. Working those long hours cramped behind a desk Monday to Friday, making sure you squeeze in at least one green juice and 3 of those ʻPumpʼ classes in order to get all those health benefits page 37 of Womenʼs Health promised you, and counting the weeks and days until that annual trip to Bali so you finally can find some peace and happiness for a brief period of time. Sound familiar?
These are thought patterns that derive from ʻcookie-cutter life plansʼ that most people adopt in return for a comfortable and predictable life, despite the lack of individuality and discontent. The mentality of ʻwork is just workʼ, ʻI hope this day goes fastʼ and ʻI cannot wait until this 8 week Bikini Body Cleanse is over so I can enjoy myself againʼ is wasting the precious time we have in this lifetime to create, experiment and discover. A missed opportunity to appreciate ʻthe nowʼ, to be thankful for our bodies the way they are, and to relinquish the energy we could focus toward living the life we all deserve to live - one of true happiness and contentment.
Can you currently say you are fully content with your situation? What is stopping you from making the changes you dream of? It may be easier to live a life half-full, but a life lived to its fullest does not have to worry about drought, only the possibility of overflow and abundance. It is true that sometimes we need a certain event, person or situation to change the outlook we have on our lives. This happened for me when starting CrossFit. Whilst I had been out of my disordered eating patterns for a good period of time, when introduced to CrossFit I still had the ideal of being ʻultra-thinʼ and a particular number of weight that I wanted to achieve ingrained in my mind. Being accustomed to understanding and ignoring my irrational thought patterns every now and then, I threw myself into the deep end and became what we all know but never say out loud as a ʻcult memberʼ. And something amazing happened. I felt invigorated after completing a WOD, became eager to improve my skills and lift heavier and fell in love with the fact my butt was getting peachier!
However by far the biggest reason that kept me coming back was the sense of community and ʻreallifeʼ that occurred amidst workouts. In those moments there is an eruption of encouragement, struggle, success, disappointment, mental fortitude, laughter, fun and happiness happening all across the room. The atmosphere in a CrossFit box can be seen as a playground mimicking the trials and tribulations of our real lives. Life is a continuous grind, attaining all of your desires is built off of a passion and drive for ʻmoreʼ, hard work and the required input of time and effort. However, without finding enjoyment in the struggle, we can not realize our full potential. Hardship is inevitable, whereas everyone today seems to want things ʻfast, easy and cheapʼ, the test is in asking yourself what you are willing to do and endure to get where you want to go and be who you want to be. The fire inside you to change, the realization of your self-worth and ability to produce your personal best, are attributes each of us can attain and if we take a chance and believe in our own capabilities.
Reinvention and self-discovery are both processes. They take time, contemplation and can also flourish unexpectedly in the midst of our current lives whilst experiencing whatever is thrown in our path. Just as we are on the quest to forge our elite fitness through CrossFit, we too can forge an elite life here on Earth by striving to live superlatively - to excel, achieve and succeed in all we do. Being here on this Earth just ʻhappensʼ to us, just as it happened to our parents and their parents. None of us have had the opportunity to plan our lives forward. All of us have had to discover, experiment and forge our way into creating what we know as ʻlifeʼ, and ensure it is a life we determine is well lived. Purpose is a concept that challenges and plagues considerably every human alive and though it can not often be obvious, it shows itself in mysterious ways, realized over time and can evolve beautifully to bring new and ever changing meanings to ones life. So take a chance, listen to your inner self because after all who knows you, better than you.