There’s a scene at the end of Some Kind of Wonderful where the male lead, a well-meaning dope who has basically spent the majority of the film in emotional manicure, asks his best friend Watts a simple question: “why didn’t you tell me?”
Her response, because of course it is: “you never asked.”
Over the last ten years, we’ve talked with more than a thousand people about their health and wellness goals. The thing is, most of these health and wellness goals are really happiness goals. Folks want to get stronger (or fitter, or faster, or bendier) so that they feel better, so that things are easier, so that they can look back at their day’s work and feel like they did a pretty good job–for themselves and for the people they love.
That’s really the sum of it. The rest is mostly window dressing.
We’ve also noticed something else, however: like Watts, many of us move through days bearing a secret. ‘Secret’ is probably not exactly the right word, but it is something we aren’t chomping at the bit to talk about at parties. For some, it is that we are too tired at night to be better with our kids; for others, it is that we don’t move as well or as painlessly as we once did, and so we don’t do some of the things we used to do. These things are real, and they hurt. We feel loss, and we wonder if we have crossed a point of no return.
But where there is a secret, there is also a superpower. There always is. Everyone’s got one. Over the years, we’ve seen countless folks surprise themselves mightily, whether it’s a lift they never thought they’d make, a skill they never thought they’d master, or a conditioner they never thought they’d complete as Rx’d. Like they say, success leaves clues, and most often these triumphs emerge organically and in the fullness of time from some place deep inside, some reservoir of grit, or love, or faith, that the athlete is used to manifesting in service of others. It is when they learn to aim that superpower at their own selves that the lightbulb comes on and the barn doors open.
And then? Our pain becomes our promise: we owe ourselves to ourselves. Once we’re there, it’s like that great poet Kevin Garnett said one summer night: