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I have been working on this column for weeks.

Not this one, exactly, or you wouldn’t be reading it. I’ve started and partially written multiple variations on various topics, even as my brain has provided and discarded many more ideas. Nothing is clicking.

I am aware that my writing flow becomes compromised in challenging times. This last year has been challenging to say the least. But I’m feeling so much better and I’m tired of talking about my crappy last year anyway — broken wrist and several surgeries and ensuing complications and many months of opioid-level pain (that, at least, has been over for a while, thank goodness) and (still) endless physical therapy and a lot of other bad luck that pummeled me simultaneously. I may or may not be stronger and/or more resilient for going through all of this but I find little consolation in it. I just want to live “normal” again, write normal, workout normal, golf normal (it’s been 11.5 months since I’ve played) and move on as though none of the last year ever happened. (Unrealistic, but still, I want it!)

I am expecting myself to be able to sit down and write a Fitness Corner column like I’ve effortlessly done so many times. I have things to say about how to care for ourselves as we age, how to best support our own bodies that support us, and how the voice(s) we hear in our minds are helpful or detrimental to our physical actions (those are among the columns I’ve started and stopped so far).

The reality is that I am clearly not there yet. Because if I was, you would be reading an entirely different column with some excellent fitness advice (if I do say so myself).

I have been battling against exactly where I am at. It has not got me the column I was hoping for.

Instead, it finally brought me to the realization that for weeks, regardless of how unproductive I have felt, I have never stopped trying to write this month’s column. I think about it all the time, I sit down and type all sorts of paragraphs in as many different documents (thank goodness I can type pain free again, so grateful) and I am perpetually distracted as my brain comes up with ideas and just as quickly discards them. I’m all over the place! It’s been chaotic, to say the least, which is vastly different than my normal writing process.

I’ll take this chaos precisely because it means I have not stopped trying.

This doesn’t feel like me at all and it’s very disconcerting. But what if I am still me? What if these circumstances that have been consuming my energy (turns out healing indeed requires a lot of energy) are only temporary? What if the person that has almost made it through this truly unfortunate year is still the same me deep down?

Most importantly, how do I know?

Here’s how I finally knew. Because I was determined to submit a column for this month. Because I have missed writing. Because I missed connecting with my Edmonds community. Because my gut feeling said I had something to say for the first time in a while and I really and truly wanted to muster the energy to say it. (And if the correct course of action was to take more time off from writing, I would have done that too and felt fine about it and you wouldn’t have noticed this column never made it to publication.)

I’m truly a believer in honoring your own needs and desires, your energy levels and cutting yourself slack if things are overwhelming. My ongoing goal is to treat myself with more kindness and compassion in making these types of decisions—I’ve been more frustrated with myself in these last few weeks than patient. But I didn’t force myself to this point. I kept at it because I fiercely wanted to write a column and I have worked hard for it. Not against myself but despite myself.

So, whatever it is that you truly want; that you keep starting and stopping; that you can’t seem to get going on; that you set aside for hours, days, weeks, months or years; the thing you have put on hold possibly indefinitely (but maybe not)—keep going if it is that important to you. If it’s worth doing, you won’t let yourself stop trying, even when life throws obstacles at you that you least expect.

This isn’t the fitness column I intended. But it is the column I was meant to write in this time and place.

Because I wouldn’t let myself quit.

— By Pritam Potts

Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16+ years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at www.mrsathlete.net and www.advancedathlete.com.



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