By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
October 22, 2015
We didn't need a story, we didn't need a real world
We just had to keep walking
And we became the stories, we became the places
We were the lights, the deserts, the faraway worlds
We were you before you even existed
I carry on…..
One of my all time favorite music albums happens to be M83’s “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming.” Needless to say, I am completely enamored by their moody and often times droning music, for it has a good blend of electronic and live instrumentation to keep me interested along with lyrics that are typically about want and desire. This is the opening salvo for the opening song called “Intro,” which subsequently has a bookended song called “Outro” at the end of the album. Now pop culture has pretty much used “Outro” to the point where some publications are begging advertising and marketing people to stop using it in movie advertising and films in general even though “Intro” is actually the better song and I’m glad it has yet to be destroyed by a string of crappy teenage coming of age movies, which keeps happening to “Outro” just about every year. It got to the point where M83 just said “Screw it!” and did some music for the “Divergent” movies so they could make direct money and control the product rather than get royalties. The movies are terrible and the worst pop culture has to offer, but hey, “Holes in the Sky” https://youtu.be/3mP9nOtu3IU and “I Need You” https://youtu.be/Irh1etXFtnM were pretty decent songs. Anyway, “Intro” is the kind of perfect lead-off man for any of the playlists I seem to conjure up, taking a spot in four of them I routinely listen to when I go running (I have about 20 to 30 lists on my phone, depending on when I decide to do a song purge). If you really look into the meaning of the album as a whole, it is quite an avant-garde take on dreams and the impact they have on our mental states. More importantly, it has plenty of material about desire and love, with songs about a man traveling across the entire universe just to see his true love. What I always take away from the opening song is the vague, omnipotent being that claims your life is not your own. Some religious people might construe that as God’s presence in their life leading the way, but hey, I’m an atheist so I don’t believe that stuff. What I grab from it is the idea of having this person deep inside our inner self, ready to tear itself out of a shell and present itself to the real world. Hence the line “We were you before you even existed.” That one little line has always resonated with me, for deep down this person I have become and continue to evolve into has always been inside me, it’s just that person was being buried by pizza, alcohol, lethargy and self loathing.
I have thought a lot about the future and the past the past week, because much like a lot of people my age, we were met with the ultimate mind job when the events in the future portion of “Back to the Future II” was suddenly here. When I watched that movie way back in 1990, I had no conceivable idea what the hell 2015 would even look like. We didn’t even have the freaking internet yet! By the time you read this, Back to the Future II will take place entirely in the past, and that is strangely a difficult thing to fathom. Being a lover of science fiction, much of the material is so far in the future that I will never live to see any of the events that depicted in films like “Mr. Nobody,” “Elysium,” “The Fifth Element,” the Alien movies or heck….“Idiocracy.” Sometimes films about the future are perfect allegories of the times, kind of like another blog favorite “Snowpiercer” or other weird sci-fi movies called “Sound of My Voice” or “Upstream Color.” Needless to say, this is the first time in a long time where I actually feel old. Yeah, I got white hair to fully illustrate how old I am getting, but jeeze! Starting today, a movie I like as a young teen is now officially older than me and completely happened in the past. Many of my friends are laughing and psyched about it, but it is strangely sad to me. It makes me contemplate other sci-fi worlds that are supposed to be happening soon, like “Bladerunner" (2019) and “Demolition Man” (2032). Heck, it was weird to me when “2010” predicted a weird cosmic event would create a second sun in our solar system…and of course it didn’t happen. Another movie I enjoyed called “Children of Men” predicted the world would stop having babies….in 2009! Or how about “Sunshine,” when we have to send the last of our resources to “kickstart” the dying sun before we freeze to death in 2057. Heck, in the movie “Moon,” we are already supposed to be planning expeditions to the moon to start mining resources to supplement Earth’s massive power demands, for the movie is set in 2035 and this world has been moving on for at least 15 years! Anyway, being the weird philosophical deep thinker-wannabe that I am, I get pretty wrapped up in my movies when I watch them. I guess this is why all these paint by numbers action films that are littering the cinemas are just boring and pointless to watch. My mind is so good at thinking on the run in that while people are seeing a car do some building hopping, I am thinking to myself “There is no way that car had enough momentum to do that…and wouldn’t the glass shredded the tires?”
I’m sure all of this philosophical talk is kind of off putting, considering this is a fitness and health blog and such. But this is part of the process, because we always forget how difficult it is to maintain this world we create for ourselves. I think about all the days I wasted in my youth, wondering why I didn’t start this journey much earlier. Considering the things I know now and how I approach life, it’s pretty obvious this person I am today has always been sitting deep inside me. How in the world did I not listen for so many years? Why did I just shut that person out when I realized it could be done? These are some of the things I will never really be able to answer, mainly because there is really no true answer when you are depressed and convinced you are on a train to an early death. I truly think this has been the most important revelation in my life, one that I keep telling anyone and everyone that might be interested in listening. I never really knew I was depressed. It was probably because of all the drugs I was taking, i.e. food and in some cases alcohol. But that was the life for me. It was easy to fall into such pitfalls because my mind has a weird desire to jump in and stay in for a fixed time. From what I have seen in my life, most of the things I really get intense about seem to stick for two or three years, which is why my fitness journey, which is going on four years now, seems like such an anomaly. I kind of figured I would have gotten bored with the whole thing by now and given up. But I guess I have a few inspirations in life, like meeting people or increasing my running range or reducing my stomach even more so eventually I can fit into that 1X shirt I keep thinking I will be able to fit into. Hopefully my fitness journey doesn’t fall prey much like my old desire for journalism, which I loved and cherished for a good 14 years before I finally divorced the whole thing and decided to move on with my life. Personally, I think it is pretty unlikely I will give up on fitness any time soon, mainly because it does capture a lot of the things that are buried deep in my heart and mind.
I do like competing and sizing myself up to other people. It’s natural when you do that. My biggest mental hang-up was always in the dating world, where I would see good looking women settle for the worst men possible. Right now, I have become kind of indifferent to the scene, mainly because I still have trouble letting go of the old mistress of food, which was the most faithful relationship I had (I mean, it lasted a good 14 years!). plus, I was out of the scene for so long, I have no freaking clue what is going on or even what women are remotely thinking! I have stopped doing that of course, for I just try to focus on myself these days and get better in my working out and my fitness. Who cares what these other people think? Either way, I refuse to be someone’s bronze medal, but I often times have to make sure I am a gold medal myself. Right now, I’m just trying to fish out the best parts of myself and bring them out to the world, whether the general populace wants to meet that person or not. I don’t care what other people think anymore. Man, it feels good to put that in writing. Now I just have to say it out loud one of these days. Someday soon I hope to be an even better athlete with an even better physique with a better life. But I just have to be patient. I mean, think about it. I lived long enough to make the future in “Back to the Future II” become the past, especially when I kind of believed for the longest time that I would never make it to my 50th birthday because I just wanted to eat pizza and Taco Bell all my life. Literally, my mindset was this. If I make it to 50, then I will think about getting healthy.
There was a cool little video that the University of Arizona made to help promote their little farmer’s market they hold on campus every couple weeks. Christa was featured in the video to help promote her PHOD bars, and said something quite relevant. “A lot of young people want to be healthy.” https://youtu.be/MXou6X6_o9o It was further reiterated by another woman in the video stating many young people don’t care and will often times just wait later in life to get in shape, while a great many will actually try to remain healthy. Needless to say, I was one of those people that didn’t care, even though I played basketball regularly and could play for hours on end. I have to say with continued honesty that I am in the best shape of my life even though my body shape is not the best it has ever been. But I look at it this way. The person I am trying to be, the one that has resided inside me for years on end is becoming more and more relevant in my life, and eventually, this dark past I had will be nothing more than the past. Eventually I will stop thinking about the future because much like the movie, I will ultimately catch up to that future and it will inevitably become the present, which is the most important time a person can live in. I saw an interesting video from the “React” channel on Youtube that asked a few people if they had a time machine, would you go forward or backward in time? The people that stated the future merely said so because they wanted see what the world would be like, and then addressed the time paradox issues of going back in time would present. Then you have the people that wanted go in the past, to desperately change the things they could never have predicted when they were younger. Personally, I don’t really want to be either of those outlooks, for the most sane perspectives came from a couple people, imperfect in multiple ways, stating is just better to stay in the present and work on yourself right now. Ultimately, there is nothing you can do that has happened in the past that you can change. I can’t tell myself to go back and stop stuffing my face, which I ultimately believed started to happen in 2000 and continued until at least 2014. And I certainly can’t keep putting things off right now, thinking something will ultimately change down the line and the future is still a ways off. Kind of strange that such a popcorn movie can have a long term effect on you. But hey, I don’t watch movies anymore to be strictly entertained. That was the belief the old me from the past used to believe. Now I can look at the subtext and derive meaning from just about anything. Evolution is sure a funny thing to have in your life.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.