Addition Through Subtraction

I love my gym. Seriously, it’s Sunday morning, so the gym is on a rest day, so I am too. I won’t completely shut it off, after all, Zelda gots to have her walks, but no weights, no weirdo scorpion walks or bear crawls for me today. Just an easy day. Some days I love the rest days, other days I can’t wait for Monday morning to get back there and be with my 5am people.

That’s the place the love comes from, the people. I can get through those 30 minutes with the fellow crazies that believe it is ok to be awake and functional at 5am. Each camp time has its regulars, and we keep each other accountable, we cheer each other on and we get through it together. A mob mentality, but in the good way, you know?

Under the best of circumstances, I am no role model for much of anything. But somehow, this place helped me kind of find a spot where people have followed me. Me. Little old Carol. It is sometimes very hard to wrap my head around it. One of the girls I went to high school with posted this morning about how she got to FIRE, as it is her 2 year anniversary there. She thanked me and one of our other classmates, who followed me there too, for sharing our experiences which got her through the doors. Cue the estrogen, because I never see myself that way. I don’t think I can inspire my groceries out of a paper bag, let alone inspire someone to change their ways. But it happened, and it is time for me to recognize the influence I can have.

When you see yourself looking back in the mirror each day, you only see yourself, not the sum of the parts. Certainly not the inside, where that little fire burns. But as you wander through your day, dealing with family, co-workers and complete strangers, they look at you through eyes you can never see through. What are you showing them? I think a lot of us put on a persona when we leave the house, and hope that is the “put together” image people look at. I have always just tried to be me. Some days that is a hot mess, others it is giggles and laughs, and all things in between. But people see me, and I don’t look that hard at what they are looking at, because image isn’t something I stress too much over.

I had a conversation at work the other day that made me look at myself a little bit though, because I was asked to consider how others perceived me. Ouch, that’s a tough one. I sit back in my little corner desk and get through the days, not really thinking about what I bring to it. Same as the gym, I am there, and I am getting through it. But he made me realize that I do have an effect on those around me, I am an example. He even went so far as to call me the “adult” in the situation. (He meant it in a good way, I think.) It kind of got me thinking of how we spend an awful lot of time taking things away from ourselves, to not be too noticeable, instead of adding to ourselves to become more.

I do want to be more. I do want to make people stop and take notice. I just never really knew why. But as it turns out, I have something to contribute. We all do. It may take a while to find it, trial and error of living life. I doubted myself in so many things for so long, that I never noticed I was doing stuff the whole time that was making me better, I just wasn’t paying attention in math class. Keep adding good things, take out the bad stuff. That includes things and people. Add, subtract. Carry the one, subtract the negative. (no algebra, we don’t need that.) When I added the gym to my life, I removed some self doubt, when I inspired a few people to come along, I helped them add something and subtract their apprehension about starting something new. Now that I can recognize it, I have a better view of what I can do.

Add in some good things to your life. Subtract the things that aren’t lifting you up. We get closer to our goals when we add each other into the mix, when we support and inspire others. Surround yourself with things and people that make you feel like a star. Then acknowledge that they helped you, and you helped them too. Recognition is great, but know your part in what you accomplished too.

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