So I’ve been in an exercise regimen for awhile. I go to a class at the YMCA every day. It’s interesting what you discover at the back of the class.
The back of any place is typically reserved for the beginners, the losers, the untalented and those who are unsure. The cheap seats are at the back of the auditorium. The most prominent church members sit at the front. Those churchgoers who are late and (stereotypically) less involved sit at the back. The back of the school bus is for the rowdy bunch. The back of the school classroom is for the ungifted and lazy. Those who sit at the front of the classroom have their arms raised constantly with the answers. Life is different. But Life continues the same.
So I join these classes and stay at the back. But what you see more noticeably in an exercise class that you do not see so strikingly in other environments is that EVERYONE is struggling. You find that you are not the only beginner. And if you are one of the few, you are not the only one having trouble with coordination and doing the moves with perfect grace. You also come to notice quite readily that YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE SWEATING.
My Pride causes me to struggle with being at the back of the class. On top of an over-achieving personality, I was raised in an environment where achievements were my keys to self esteem. I always had to be the first, the best and the brightest. And I did it. I sat at the front of the class, graduated at the top of my class, sat in the first chair and led the orchestra. I continued in my career moving up the corporate ladder quite steadily and successfully.
Ahhhhhhh. . . . . but Life led me to the back of the class. And I see things that I never could have seen in the front. You see, in the front row, all you can really see is yourself. POSSIBLY those next to you, but if you are focused on achieving, all you see is your own self. You do not gain the empowering knowledge that when you make a mistake, about 20 other people in the class made it right along with you.
At the back of the class, you realize that we are all different and all the same. We are all struggling, pushing, challenging and sweating. We all reach successes only to find them either diminish or fall into failure or ruin soon after. We all fail over and over again, only to meet triumph after “one more try”. We all want more. We all get hurt. We all fall down. We all overcome.
After awhile I moved to the middle in my class. Not necessarily because I am now able to do 80% of the class, instead of the 40-50% when I started. But I moved to the middle because I know that front, middle or the back, I am part of it all. I struggle. I fall over. And everyone else around me does too.
Try it sometime. Change your perspective. If you’ve been at the front, move to the middle or back. If you’ve been in the middle, move to the back or front. And if you are at the back, stay there and keep observing. You’re not a loser. They’re not a winner. We are all blazing our own trails back to the stars. If only we could remember that they are simply our own – no different, no better, just unique.
A man once told me, “The more I live my life, the more I realize that what I need is more patience and more humility.” That statement is never brought more home to me than at the back of the class….
Where I’m stayin.