Time flies. It’s been a month since my daughter was born (June, 2008). It seems like she arrived just yesterday.
Since I don’t know if we’ll have more children, there is something I’d like to address while the memories are fresh. First of all, we (men) have it easy. Labor is a literal term. It’s hard work! My wife was in labor for over 24 hours without pain medication. She was on her feet for 90 percent of the time, working through one contraction at a time. She was obviously tired, but taking a break wasn’t an option.
I sat by her watching in amazement. This labor was much different from our first child (much longer and more difficult). My wife was truly a warrior! Personally, I was exhausted, but you can be damn sure I didn’t mention it. I had the easy job as labor coach. My wife was the one fighting the actual battle. Watching her fight through one contraction at a time was incredible.
Mothers deserve plenty of credit for going through what they go through. Labor can come at any time. The only certainty is pain. We just don’t know when. It isn’t like a fighter who knows that he’ll be in the ring at 9PM on Friday night. Labor is unpredictable. Living pregnant for 9 months and then facing the uncertainty (and certain pain) is incredible.
Yet, as incredible as it is, women have given birth since the beginning of time. Labor isn’t new. It is something that all mothers have experienced. And please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not at all minimizing the monumental task of delivery. On the contrary, the birthing process shows me that we are all much more capable than we realize. Ask any mother how labor compares to 30 minutes of exercise. The most intense workout in the world is a walk in the park in comparison.
If a woman is pregnant, the baby has got to come out. Staying pregnant forever isn’t a choice. When choice is removed from the equation, we all become much more capable.
The same can be said of many situations in life. For example, I’ve had several emails in the past month from individuals asking about my sleep (or lack of it) since the baby was born. Everyone wants to know how I can function on such little sleep. The answer is really quite simple however. There isn’t a choice. If one of my children needs me, I’ll be there. Parents of infants know exactly what I’m talking about. Children are more important than sleep. Once you are a parent, you are a parent for life. Parenting isn’t periodized or tapered. If the baby wakes up crying, we don’t have the option of hitting the snooze button. You get up and care for your child.
I cannot stop providing food for my family because I am tired. It isn’t a choice. When you have a job, you do it. Sure, there are choices in terms of different careers, but we all need to work and pay taxes. It is part of life. The bill collectors don’t care if we are tired. We do what we need to do, and if that means working with less sleep, so be it. No one said life was easy, and if they did, they were full of sh*t!
For another example, think back to when you were in school. As a student, you show up each day and do your work. We all went through school. As a kid, I didn’t choose to attend school. It was chosen for me. My mother didn’t negotiate. Going to school was the law!
Making Your Own Choices
The time will come however when we must make choices for ourselves. Consider the high school student who heads off to college. He is no longer living with Mom and Dad. He must make the right choices for himself. He must wake up for class. He must make time to study. Will he study, or will he go out partying? He alone must choose.
While this entry is somewhat random, the concept of choice is closely related to health, fitness, and sport. We make choices each and every day. Personally, I choose to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle. I could choose to drink beer and eat pizza all day, but I choose not to. Life isn’t always about what we can or cannot do in terms of capability. More often than not, our lives are based on the choices that we make.
As William Jennings Bryan once said,
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice.”
Unfortunately, many are either misinformed in terms of what decisions to make, or do not believe that they are capable of achieving anything worthwhile. There are many who honestly believe that they are not physically capable of improving. Fortunately, a solution is not only possible, but right around the corner.
The first step is actively choosing to change, and then believing in your decisions.
If someone else chose for you, you wouldn’t think twice. You would do it (just like going to grade school). If someone put a gun to my head and told me to jump, you can be damn sure that I’m about to fly! More often than not, the ability is there. It’s always been there. It may be dormant however, which is why you must choose to wake up and use it.
How your life unfolds will largely depend on the choices that you make going forward.
Don’t underestimate the power of choice.