Depending upon your age, that picture above brings back memories of high school and college, and hopefully that’s where it ended. Better yet, that picture doesn’t bring back memories, not because you blacked out most of your late teens and early 20’s, but because you simply didn’t participate in such activities. As for me, well, that picture brings back a lot of memories, some of them are good memories with some good friends, but many of them I either don’t remember, or worse, bring back feelings of shame and guilt because of what actions typically came along with partying like that.
I’m not sure exactly what it was that led me to start partying so hard in my late teens and early-mid twenties. In high school I had steered clear of getting high and wasted on the weekends. Thank goodness for sports to keep me busy and put guardrails around me during that period of my life, because it would’ve been real easy to fall into that trap if I didn’t have a responsibility to my teammates, coaches, and community to keep my nose clean and spend time on more worthy pursuits.
Then, college happened. I’m not sure exactly what it was that gave me the mindset to loosen the guardrails. I was a two-sport athlete (rare in college) pursuing baseball and football. Thinking back, maybe it was because as an incoming freshman on the football team, we were all red-shirted, which meant, you didn’t have to worry about playing on Saturdays, and there were no repercussions athletically if you were caught partying. Perhaps it was the people I hung around most? Associations are incredibly powerful, and while I love those guys, perhaps it wasn’t the best people to have hung around if I wanted to continue to excel athletically. Or was it the culture that influenced me? Culture surely celebrated living the “college life” as partying, womanizing, and skipping class as all part of the “college experience.” I guess it was all of those things, among some others that I likely don’t recall.
Athletically, somehow I still managed to work hard, train hard, and even begin to have some success. I started as a freshman on the varsity baseball team, which was a perennial nationally ranked program. I had a B- type of freshman year on the diamond and figured I had a bright future. Did I build on that and take my mindset, training, and skills to the next level so I could get to the next level though? No, I didn’t. Did I keep participating in my “weak-end” partying antics, yes, I did. You can probably already see where this story is going……
Somehow I manage to win a starting position again as a sophomore on the baseball diamond, but I had decided it was best to quit playing football because I “didn’t have enough time.” I regret this decision to this day, because I was a gifted athlete on the gridiron as well, and what did this decision really actually do for me? It loosened up the guardrails even more, because now Summers opened up and so did the Fall because I wouldn’t be training for football anymore. I told myself that I made that decision because if I had a chance to play professionally in a sport, it was going to be baseball, so I had to focus my efforts. The problem was, I didn’t focus more, I focused less. I lied to myself. I still always showed up and worked hard sure, but that doesn’t cut it when you’re playing at higher levels, and it certainly doesn’t cut it if you want to play professionally. You can’t play hungover, train hungover, and expect to excel. You can’t eat like a garbage truck and expect to get results from the training that would translate to the field of play.
So, I continued to kid myself, and as my performance began to suffer, and I became expendable, that’s exactly what happened. I was expended. Rather than pick myself up by my bootstraps and win back my spot or transfer to prove them wrong, I convinced myself that it was everyone else’s fault except my own, and I quit the fight. I gave up the dream. I became of victim of my own excuses. I had a weak-end to my athletic story, and it was my fault.
It took awhile for me to accept my role in it all, despite carrying all the shame and guilt subconsciously, but I fully take responsibility for those “weak-end” choices during that time period of my life, and the period that followed, because it didn’t end there. Those habits that I had established during those years carried on into adulthood. For the first 4 years of being in the real world, I was just working for the weekend. Work hard during the week, party hard on the weekends.
You’d think I would have learned my lesson from college sports about how that ends up working for you in the real world, but it took a little longer for me to finally learn that lesson. You see, many times in life if we don’t learn the lesson, we are forced to have to continue to stay in the lesson until we finally get the passing grade and can move onto other lessons. Like a class that I failed and had to repeat (which never happened by the way) life has a funny way of keeping you in a certain class if you continue to fail the exam.
Well the good news is that I finally learned my lesson. It took about a decade, but what I’ve realized is that many of the people I’m blessed to meet in my life, still haven’t passed the class. They are still allowing the 28% of their life, the weekends, become their “weak-ends.” Health-wise, it’s slowly killing them, and it’s spilling over into their performance in all areas of their life. “Weak-ends” are so accepted as a societal norm, that trying to educate people about a healthy lifestyle has increasingly been labeled as “fat-shaming” now. You can see where someone struggling in this area of their life could easily find a support group, commonly referred to as an echo-chamber, where their excuses continue to be validated by other professional weakenders.
Change your environment, get some new teachers, do the homework assignments, and pass the darn class. Don’t let the 28% of your life, ruin the other 72%.
Cheers to you passing the class and eliminating the “weak-ends.” At Well Built Humans, we call it the STRONGend, and it feels way better than a weak one.
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