Embracing the Power of Modifications

Near the middle of lockdown, I subscribed to an email list called The Workout Today. They send emails three times a week that include some kind of philosophical reflection as well as a workout you can do at home.

This is one of the first ones I received, and I saved it.

First, they talk about the importance of embracing modifications so that a workout fits you and your body. Then they expand:

"If you can learn to embrace modifications, you have a little-known superpower. Every day we are faced with 'defaults' that society has somehow agreed upon. These defaults become sources of social pressure and self-shame. The more we recognize these societal defaults for what they are - arbitrary guidelines - the better we can get at modifying as needed.

So no, you don’t have to drink a beer at happy hour, you can modify and drink sparkling water instead.

And no, you don’t have to walk in a straight line down the sidewalk, you can modify with twirls or skips.

And you certainly don’t have to buy into the mindset that you aren’t enough, just the way you are."

Sometimes I am amazed by the fact that I was raised in a society that prizes individuality so highly, and yet I so often let myself get blown about by the winds of the default.

The result for me can be as minimal as staying up later than I really wanted to and as significant as silently watching injustice unfold before my eyes. Both are unnecessary, although the devastation caused varies greatly.

I'm working on paying more attention to when and where I go along with things that I don't necessarily want, just because they are already happening. It's hard! But I like framing it as a modification. I'm not opting out or being lame - I am just doing my own little personal modification!

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