I'm slowly becoming one of those happy people that seems motivated to do anything and everything. You know, those people that sign up for a 5k because they haven't done something like that before. That do a Tough Mudder because it seems fun. That are always happy and excited in emails and social get-togethers. While I'm mostly a private person and not apt to make friends quickly, I've been making more friends. If we go by Facebook, I've added twenty-five friends, all Crossfitters, since starting. And these are people I talk to, work out with, and keep track of. To be honest, I kind of looked down on these people (not the crossfitters, but those "strangely happy" folks) before Crossfit, before the accident, because I imagined it could not possibly be genuine. These people were huffing their own enthusiasm and were weaker for it. In retrospect, I don't know how I could have made that judgment, as it doesn't make sense from where I sit now. But I made it anyways. Kind of sad, really.
I take fewer drugs. In fact, I've mostly cut out all anti-inflammatories and painkillers (I still take a few tylenol occasionally when I work way too hard at the gym). I no longer take anything to get to sleep (I had taken a variety of benzo's and the newer Ambien/Lunesta/Sonata drugs over the years as well as benadryl and a few other OTC things, and some "inventive" drugs my doctors gave me to treat insomnia). I don't take caffeine, like at all. I get a pretty uncomfortable feeling from even a single cup of black coffee.
Stuff bothers me less. I kind of take irritating situations at the office and socially less personally. I haven't put my finger on what this is or how it works, but I think it's probably related to the fact that almost every day I have a metcon that pounds me to the point where I'm gasping for air. Little "email fights" and disagreements about trivial shit seem just that – trivial – when you're closely acquainted with the notion that sometimes it's hard to just breathe.
People around me, and their success, matters so much more. I love watching somebody PR a lift, or beautifully kip pullups. Or get to new depths in a squat. Or even just learn a new lift or movement. I love seeing people better themselves; strangely, it makes me feel good to watch somebody else succeed. I say that's strange, but what is wrong with somebody else doing great? Shouldn't we all feel great if one of our cohort does well? Why wouldn't we?
The idea of something big and challenging that's going to be a suck-fest is now an enticing one. Because I know I'll do better at it than I ever done, and even if I fail (like I don't manage to run the entire 5k, or get 90 unbroken double unders, or whatever), I know that I will have worked hard and that is something to be proud of. Nobody ever says "oh wow, you do Zumba?" Sometimes, just showing up is something to be proud of. Kicking ass, even if it's a little less ass than the next guy, is nothing to sniff at when you set your sights on very hard targets. Hike 200 miles? Yeah, sign me up. That sounds awesome. I want that suck-fest (I asked for FGB for my birthday this year!).
So, I think I have some humble pie to eat. For years, I've been needlessly disparaging people that were happier than me, thinking the problem was with them, rather than me. Now, joining their ranks, and having walked far enough in these shoes, I think I have isolated the results. It doesn't seem to be a superficial, long-lived endorphins rush.
No, it seems, the problem was me. I'm sorry I've been a dick for twenty-plus years, but I'm extraordinarily glad to both be aware of it, and past it. It's cheaper for me than therapy, doesn't involve drugs that fuck up my sleep or make me gain weight, and I'm physically healthier, too.
I have some more thoughts on this rattling around in my head, but I haven't got them sorted enough to put to paper.