T is big on ignoring pain and working through it nonetheless. When I’m attacked by bugs/struck by eczema, he keeps me in line, yelling at me when he notices me absentmindedly – or sneakily – reaching for an itch, and I’m often jostled out of sleep by him grabbing my hands to stop me scratching. When he manages to slice himself open, he simply carries on (no bandages, no dressings) and heals within a couple of days.
Sometimes, this doesn’t work out so well. But I have to admire the general philosophy. Self-control and perseverance are fine virtues.
Still, while I’m all for positive thinking, there are some things I can’t manifest away. My chronic sinus problems. The fact that I bruise at the merest brush up against another object. My digestive system’s dislike of Indian food. And even T can’t ignore his chronic back pain.
I’m a bit of a day dreamer, but ultimately, I consider myself a realist. That’s just how I like to operate.
But does that mean I sometimes sell myself short and give myself an out – using that as an excuse for not even trying?
At indoor rock climbing recently (my second time) I was really struggling. It was a serious struggle to belay T (probably doesn’t help that’s he’s nearly triple my body weight), and I wasn’t doing all that great with my own climbing thanks to insane foot cramps (most people worry about excessive sodium intake; I usually don’t get enough and don’t realise it till agonising cramps set in at inconvenient times), hand swelling and cramps, general fatigue and my own lack of physical strength. Oh, and my fear of heights doesn’t help either. I think I only made it to the top of two walls out of five.
I know that I didn’t have it in me. Nonetheless, watching the doggedness of my friends as they went all in, trying several times to scale a tricky part, couldn’t help wondering if I’d pushed hard enough. I’m sure to an outsider, it looked like I was giving up without really trying to push my own limits.
What do you think? Where’s the balance between realism and reaching for the stars?