Cardio. Reps. Pump. Dumbbell. Deadlift. These are all terms physically fit people tend to use a lot. Not because they’re douchebags, it’s just a fit person thing. It’s like an engineer using the word optimize or a doctor using the word acute — it’s normal in the context of their lifestyles. While I can never say I’ve been particularly fit or focused on fitness, it’s senior year, so now or never I guess.
This weekend I had a lot of interesting conversations. One particularly interesting one was about how we derive our self-esteem. One of my good friends and I were talking about how we’ve never been particularly focused on being in amazing shape while at Cornell, a weird thought considering the emphasis most of us and our classmates placed on fitness in high school. He cited some sociological study that claimed people tend to place more importance on the parts of their lives that they derive their self-esteem from.
In the Cornell ecosystem we all exist in, having a six pack just doesn’t really matter as much as it did in high school. Most people care a lot more about what house you’re in or what investment bank you’re working for next year. While I can’t say I derive from self-worth from what house I’m in or what amazing career I have ahead of me, this conversation got me thinking. What did I derive my self-esteem from?
While I’ve never been a particularly in-shape guy, I’ve always thought of myself as relatively average. I could run a few miles if you asked me to, but what’s the fun in that? I like to eat things that taste good, but a salad is fine too. Overall, I would describe myself as more apathetic than passive, but not totally uninterested in the prospect of being more healthy.
The day after I had this brief self-esteem conversation with my friend, I committed to leading a healthier lifestyle. Most people say the first step to being fit is waking up in the morning and going on runs. That day I woke up at 1p.m., so a morning run was out of the question, but it wasn’t too early for a healthy afternoon smoothie. I went over to my girlfriend’s house to talk shop. Or gym. I’m not sure what the fitness analogy would be.
She agreed a smoothie was the best way to start the day, so we got out her Magic Bullet and got to work. We threw some Greek yogurt, raspberries, gin and mangoes into the blender and let it rip. It only took a few minutes to make the smoothies, but let me tell you, fitness never tasted so good. Just kidding, I put way too much gin in the smoothies and it tasted like battery acid. But I think an interesting metaphor can be drawn here. Being fit is hard and it can taste bitter at times — like gin. But if that’s what you want to do, for sure go for it.
As I sat there drinking fitness, I thought about where I derive my self-worth. I wasn’t totally sure, but I think that’s okay. Maybe I’ll never be fit fam, but that’s life sometimes. Until I figure that out, I guess I’ll just keep drinking my fitness smoothies.
Akshay Jain is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. College Stuff appears alternate Wednesdays this semester.