Months after my son was born, I was on a long solo walk with him that took us up to the Brooklyn promenade. As I adjusted the rain cover on his carriage as the drizzle started coming down, I got approached on the otherwise barren stretch by two men. One of them was Bradley Cooper’s handler and one was Bradley Cooper.
They needed directions.
The handler did all the talking but Bradley Cooper stood right behind him with a huge smile.
I shit you not, while myself and the handler and the stroller cover all started to feel the effects of the rain, it was as if the water didn’t touch Bradley Cooper. I’m pretty sure he was standing in a 3 foot diameter of dry ground as the rest of the pave stones started to darken from the moisture.
Some people just naturally have a bit of magic, I guess.
Have I mentioned that I squatted more than him?
I know it’s not a contest, but it was considerably more.
Which I realize may not be as impressive as being nominated for nine Academy Awards or being able to repel rain, but it is something.
You may be wondering while I am telling you about my run-ins with Bradley Cooper and, quite honestly, I am wondering the same thing.
My process for these blogs usually starts with me wanting to express some sort of training principle or life lesson and then thinking of a personal story or piece of history or pop culture event that illustrates that idea.
This one started with the story.
So now that I’ve pinned myself into this cozy, yet uncomfortable corner and, after ruminating on it for the better part of a week, please allow me to tell you what I’ve finally come up with.
I think my meetings with Bradley Cooper are a wonderful example of how two experiences can be wildly different - when I first met him I was still working in advertising, wasn’t yet a Dad and found myself all the way across the country - yet have a common thread (the dreamy Bradley Cooper).
And this, I realized, is also my relationship with training. The training is still the training. The squat is still the squat. But my relationship to it has really changed.
In the beginning, training was all about me. How can I get healthy? How can I look better in my wedding photos? How can I get to a place where I feel okay about taking my shirt off at a pool party?
But as my life and my training have progressed, it has become less and less about me.
Don’t get me wrong, training still serves me in a big way. It’s good for my mental and physical health. It’s an avenue for a lot of the relationships and camaraderie in my life. It allows me to set what I think is a good example for my son about taking care of yourself. It probably still serves my dwindling but still present vanity.
But as the years have marched on, my relationship with training has shifted to how I can best use it to help others. I feel like it’s given me so much and I feel really strongly about helping others experience those benefits as well. It’s also probably why I take it more personally than I should when someone isn’t as consistent as I want them to be or if they are falling for trendy but ineffective training practices.
I’m working on it.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I like to believe that for every middle-aged person who is still solely consumed with their success there are dozens more who have hit an inflection point - where they realize that the rewards of life can go well beyond personal ones and shift to finding that helping others is where it’s at.
And that is where I find myself with training. I have no intention to slow down or stop. And it still holds a lot of importance to me. And while I strive to tackle new modalities and learn new things and chase performance, I also find myself more content with where I am in the big picture of it all.
If you feel stuck or depressed or unfulfilled I highly recommend taking a look at what gifts, talents and experiences you have that can be used to help others lead more fulfilling lives.
It may change their life. It will certainly change yours.
Maybe not “singing with Lady Gaga at the Academy Awards”-level of change. But change, nonetheless.