Based on the picture above, what might you guess this post is about?
Hmm, I guess only brilliant/obsessive/imaginary followers of this odd little blog could have any clue.
OK, another hint: here's a similar picture I posted a while back:
Notice what's different? And so what sort of post might you be in for?
So if you guessed either:
a. A Quick Fix for Presbyopia; or
b. Some Boring-Ass Fitness or Personal Growth Analogy;
You'd be right!
Let's take 'em in order.
Miracle Presbyopia Cure:
Yep, the picture is of the reading glasses I'd been hooking through my gym lock as my one concession to exercising while middle-aged. As I mentioned, it's embarrassing to stand there in a state of post-shower nakedness trying to find a young person to open your locker for you, so I started bringing reading glasses to the gym. But then a few weeks ago I went to an optometrist and discovered a miracle solution!
Caveat: it only works if you are also nearsighted and wear contact lenses, or are contemplating lasik surgery. Which I am not, as the idea of someone taking a scalpel to my eyes while I am wide awake makes me want to curl up into a small shivering sniveling ball of cowardly terror. NO KNIVES ALLOWED ON MY EYEBALLS! That's just one of those quirky rules I live by.
Though if someone wants to bake me one of these I may reconsider.
If you have to correct nearsighted eyes anyway, the trick is this:
Under-correct one eye.
This means you can read with one eye without reading glasses, and see distance with the other!
It also means you can render yourself almost blind, if either eye is called upon to execute the other eye's function. Probably not recommended for airline pilots or sharpshooters.
The more you're willing to give up in "general" visual acuity in each eye, the better overall results you can have. But your reading eye is going to suck at distance vision, and your distance eye is gonna miss those reading glasses because it won't be able to read squat anymore.
So What The Hell Does This Have to do With Fitness and Personal Growth?
The emphasis in both these realms tends to be on "balance."
It is generally assumed that you should be spending the most time and energy fixing the things you suck at, not spending a bunch of time getting even better at things you are already good at.
And this makes perfect sense a lot of the time, especially if you want to avoid rotator cuff injuries because you neglected weak muscles, or bankruptcy because you never learned impulse control, or divorce due to being a stubborn inflexible opinionated butthead.
But, I like to be contrary. And so to extend the presbyopia analogy: sometimes balance is bullsh-t.
There are lots of times in life where you get better results if you specialize at what you're good at. You can often enjoy more success and happiness if you learn to delegate, trade favors, work around, or just say the hell with what you are untalented or unskilled at and focus on what you're naturally good at.
So my left eye can now read restaurant menus, hooray! And if I need to figure out where the car is parked after the meal is over, left eye just laughs and laughs and says Not My Department, Crabby. Those blurry things over there could be vehicles or they could be water buffalo wearing colorful sweaters. If you want to know what the hell is in the parking lot, check with smarty pants Right Eye over there.
I figure if you muster up enough "all around" skill or competence to avoid injury or catastrophe, you can often find ways to spend most of your time doing things you enjoy and are good at. If you're a workaholic, sure, you need to take some time to drag your butt away from your computer and play and hang with loved ones. But you don't need to take time to clean your toilets if you can afford to pay someone else to.
Does everyone need to be a triathlete? I hate swimming, and yet there's a part of me that has sometimes felt vaguely guilty that I never do it. Should I spend a bunch miserable hours in a pool proving to myself that I could swim a mile if I really wanted to someday? Or can I just be fine with the knowledge that if I should someday trip over my own feet and tumble into a swimming pool, I can paddle to the sides and climb out, humiliated but alive?
(And by the way, for those of you who do venture into the deep end occasionally, check out this very amusing "unbiased review" of the various swim strokes that an extremely helpful anonymous commenter alerted me to).
There is so much self help advice out there, whether it be health and fitness or career-optimizing or life-hacking or social-media conquering or family-raising or budgeting or finding inner peace. It can start to feel like we're supposed to be reasonably good at all that stuff.
But as I get older I'm getting more and more content to just be Left Eye, and let some of that stuff be out in the distance and pleasantly blurry.
What about you guys, are you all-around accomplished or are you specialists or a bit of both? (And I haven't forgotten about our ongoing New Year's giveaway; that post is coming on Wednesday!)
Photo: Eyeball cake: Don Buciak