“Looks like someone has something to prove.”
I bristled at the cashier’s words for a second.
I’m not “that guy.” I don’t feel the need to show off or brag about walking uphill both ways into the wind. It isn’t Festivus, and we are not performing feats of strength for glory.
I just didn’t need any help getting the groceries to the car. It was about seven or eight bags, but it was mostly vegetables. The load was more awkward than anything, and I was sure I’d be just fine if I hooked all the handles in the crooks of my elbows and went through the exit sideways.
The cashier was exceptionally friendly, even at the end of her nine-hour shift, and she was just trying to help. She said she’d even make space so I could leave half the groceries by the till for my second trip.
I smiled, thanked her, and told her I’d be just fine. Then I picked up the bags and started lumbering toward the door.
And then I realized that I actually do have something to prove. Not to her or the people in line behind me, but to myself.
I have no competition goals with fitness. But I have life goals. I want to live a long time, and I want to be independent forever. When I die, I hope it’s while I’m working out and some vital organ simply reaches the end of its run and explodes after about 10 decades of faithful service. I recall watching my 97-year-old neighbour as he shovelled snow off his roof a few years back, and I want to be just like Ray even if a few others were really worried about him. Better to die on your roof than in a hospital bed, I’d say.
So I look at life’s physical tasks as challenges. I generally type all day, and grunt work is refreshing. It’s a chance to go caveman and reconnect with a body that’s been immobile for hours in a society in which physical tasks are disappearing. I like carrying my own groceries and dog food. I like moving furniture. I enjoy pushing cars out of snowbanks. I want to move that heavy thing just to see if I can.
As I got to the truck with all bags intact, I felt a real sense of accomplishment even if Brussels sprouts, bananas and ground beef don’t weigh very much. I felt good about having the capacity to do something another would have avoided.
So yes, the cashier was right: I have something to prove.
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