My wonderful clients come in frequently after a brief (or not-so-brief) strength training hiatus, frantic to get back in the groove and worried they will have “lost” something. I have the same worry at times: What if I took all that time to reach this goal…and now it’s gone? But I’m learning something about skill:
If you set a skill down mindfully with every intention of coming back to it…it’s not lost. It’s simply waiting for you.
For the past month or so, I have been looking at my serious practice from a little bit of a distance. Dealing with one of the most challenging months of my life, I had to mindfully set it down and keep an eye on it while I allowed myself energy and time for other things. I moved. I lifted a little. We stayed in contact. But my hardcore PRACTICE was sitting quietly, waiting for me.
So now I’m back. Not back to hitting PR’s or grinding heavy…but back to practice: the slow, consistent process of “I’m going to mess this up over and over and over and each time I’ll get closer.”
Years ago (honestly? a year ago.) my return would have been triumphant. High volume, high load, HIIT-finished glory! And I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve learned the deep value of a gentle reintroduction to movement, a quiet “hello” to the barbell and the kettlebell, a willingness to be with the breathlessness that wasn’t there a month ago. And I know that my relationship with this thing we call strength will be better for it.
We get sick. Kids get sick. Relationships end. Life happens. And you have the choice to either gently set things down while you care for yourself… or run the risk of dropping and breaking them while you juggle too many things. Just remember they’re waiting for you and to return gently.