I Run Shirtless Because Society Has Become Wussified
Inspired By True Events
Don't we just love social media? It gives us an outlet to allow friends to see where we've eaten, to post pithy memes, to share accomplishments. Perhaps that's where it all started to go wrong.
I'm talking about the apparent need of the majority of society to be validated for doing the next right thing.
"I didn't eat ten Whoppers today! APPLAUD ME!!!"
"I let someone merge in front of me on the freeway instead of speeding up and making them slam on the brakes! PAT ME ON THE BACK!!!"
"I was a decent human being today! LAUD ME!!!"
"I tried! GIVE ME A REWARD!!!"
With the wussification of society today, everybody wants to be rewarded for doing anything. For putting forth effort. "Look at me! See what I'm doing? Please notice me so that I can have self worth!"
There's an entire social media outlet dedicated to the posting of your daily workout.
This is the attitude that has led to kids' baseball games where everybody gets a hit. Games in which nobody loses. You know what happens when nobody loses? Nobody wins, either. When there's no reward for working hard, then you get a generation of slackers who want to be given a prize just for showing up.
"I came to the interview, so give me a job."
"I attended some of my classes, so give me an A."
My father told me when I was very young, "I don't care if you're a garbage man. Be the best garbage man that you can be." I carry that philosophy with me in everything that I do.
Can we stop coddling our children? I am a new parent. My daughter is seven and one half months old. I understand what it is to love a child more than life. But as she gets older, and tries new things, all that I'll ask of her is that she try her hardest. If she doesn't become first chair tuba in the marching band, and she tried her hardest, it's just because she wasn't as good as someone else. That's a hard lesson for kids to learn, but it's a necessary one.
Many moons ago (19 years), I weighed 280 pounds.
I became tired of being the fat guy. So I lost weight. A bunch. I worked my butt off to do it. I didn't take to the street corner (social media was not a thing in 1996) and brag and boast about it. Having put in the work to do it was its own reward.
I'm two for two in running 100 miles. I worked my butt off to do so. I got a cool belt buckle that I wear every day. I've earned it. I wrote race reports, recounting my experience. I posted them on various facebook pages, so that those who would be interested in reading about them could do so.
None of these things, wearing the buckle, writing the report, posting it on FB, were done so that I could be validated through other peoples' praise.
I have enough self confidence and self worth.
When I run, and it's 50 degrees F or warmer, I run shirtless. I have numerous stretch marks on my belly. I have a bunch of loose belly skin.
I worked hard to not be the fat guy. If my stretch marks and loose skin gross you out, or offend you in some manner, then there is a simple solution:
Let's stop raising our kids to need validation through other people. Let's reward them for hard work, but also let them know that hard work sometimes only gets you so far.
In life, as in running, there is always someone faster, or better. However, there will always be someone slower as well.