Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I was feeling a little more daring this morning so I decided to change up my workout routine. I drove to the YMCA for a 5.45am spinning class! For the uninitiated, spinning is a workout on a stationery bike that is built to simulate a road bike. Depending on the person leading the class, it can be a pretty intense workout. There is one primary problem with spinning, and that is the fact that you are pedaling furiously and going absolutely nowhere! I've been in some of the most intense spinning classes led by sadistic, masochistic tyrants who took delight in watching us puke all over the place as we reached the zenith of our endurance, but... we still went nowhere!!

Life often tends to draw close parallels with a spinning class. Working, living, hurting, laughing and playing at the most frenetic of paces yet feeling as if you're spinning in place or going round in concentric circles. The tendency is to want to give up the pursuit of your dreams and goals when there are no immediately apparent results. Unlike road biking, spinning gives no apparent immediate results. With road biking I go from point A to point B. I know the distance between both points. I make steady progress from one point to another and at the end of the workout there are measurable miles behind me. Not so with spinning. At least not apparently. But there is as much benefit to your body as if you were road biking. Three months into an active lifestyle of spinning, your pant size will drop. Your endurance will increase, and you will feel increasingly fitter and healthier.

The drudgery of life can often be like that. In the mundane, monotonous routine of everday living, we can begin to think that our lives are counting for nothing and that we are making little or no impact on the lives of people around us. The truth is that there is so much more than you can visibly observe, going on. And sometimes the ultimate "fruit" of all your labor may not even be manifest in your lifetime. How do you think Martin Luther King Jr. would feel if he could see what his persistence and sacrifice had accomplished in the fight for racial equality? What would Abraham Lincoln think about his fight to keep the USA one united country? can you imagine communism as the dominant political system of our world? You may compare your life to a spinning class and think that you are constantly "doing" yet accomplishing nothing. I encourage you to view it from a different perspective: Your life is like a seed that will one day become the tree that will provide shelter, nourishment and life for so many others. So, on your darkest days think of the difference it will make to someone elses life because you persevered.


Hope said...

I love this analogy. You always open my mind. You have a knack for making people think! Thanks.

Ms Harkins said...

Joseph, interesting topic. I sometimes feel that I am nothing, a person that does not make a difference to the world. SOMETIMES only :-)

Now, I know that you enjoy reading... have you ever read anything by Jamaica Kincaid? Great writer! I appreciate the way she sees things and uses the words.

Joseph said...

Hope, thanks for your very gracious compliment.

Alison, we all feel like that at different points along the journey of life so you're not alone. I have never read anything by Jamaica Kincaid. What would you recommend?

Ms Harkins said...

I would recommend a short story called "On Seeing England for the First Time". Very interesting point of view of colonization.

Joseph said...

Thanks Alison, I'll be sure to check it out.