Day 25 – Can’t vs Won’t


What a week.

This week, I’ve run. A lot. More than I have in a long time.  Monday was a yoga/cardio day; Tuesday and today were both long runs and to be completely honest, I missed yesterday.  One meeting ran into another, with a day that began early in the morning and ending late into the evening.  Truth be told, I could have grabbed a change of clothes, hustled off to the gym and done cardio for 30 minutes before it closed, but I didn’t.  Instead, I put on some sweat pants and baked a healthy banana bread (recipe forthcoming).

Since the challenging run on Tuesday, a thought has stuck with me.  It’s one that I haven’t been able to shake — the difference between “can’t” and “won’t.”

For those with children, grandchildren or in my case, a niece and a nephew, you hear this when they say “But, I NEED this” while forcefully squeezing a stuffed animal discovered in the card aisle.  Trying to explain “need vs. want” is a challenge.  “You NEED food and water, but you WANT the tiger. Right?”  They stare back at you with a look of “ah, yea, same thing Auntie!”

Tuesday’s run took me through Virginia and into DC.  The way into the city was downhill, and as we all know, what goes up must come down, or in this case, reverse that.  Running downhill, I knew that I would have to turn around at the base and head back up, a few miles, to make it home.  I’m thinking to myself “Ugh, this hill won’t be fun. I shouldn’t have come this far. I’m worried about my knee.  I CAN’T DO THIS!”

As I put one foot in front of the other, I made it to the top of the hill and eventually home, but have been thinking about the idea of “I can’t do this” that crossed my mind when in reality, it’s I don’t WANT to do this, therefore, I WON’T.”

On the heels of missing yesterday’s workout and then picking it back up today, I realized that I again said “I won’t.” It wasn’t that I couldn’t…  Because, honestly, those who CAN’T are the men and women in a hospital in Boston, whose leg(s) has been amputated.  Those who “don’t have time” are the women and men who woke up every morning not by an alarm clock, but by gun fire, as they fight for OUR freedom.  “I’ll start tomorrow” doesn’t apply to those for whom tomorrow never comes.

Yes, it sounds dramatic and sensationalized, but why put off doing tomorrow, what you can do today? Why make excuses and say that I can’t or I don’t have time, when the truth is, I’m simply being lazy.

Too often, I take time for granted.  I take for granted that my legs get me to where I want to go and that my eyes — albeit with contact or glasses — will guide me through the words of this post. Life is too short and unpredictable as it is, without us getting in our own way.

You don’t have to win the Tough Mudder, do an Ironman or win Gold at the Olympic Games to be healthy.  You just have to get out there and start.  Those of you who started on April 1 have almost completed a full month worth of workouts.  Good for you and what a gift to yourself! I bet you can feel the difference after 25 days. If you didn’t start at the beginning, now’s a good a time as any.  The sun will come up tomorrow and it will be a new day… the question is, what will you say? I don’t have time, I can’t or HECK YEA I’m going to get out there and do something for ME! Only you can choose.

Until tomorrow…


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