What makes me feel stronger?

My immediate reaction to this question took me back 10+ years. In my mind, there was nothing better than getting super sweaty after a really tough workout. Admittedly, I’m not a great athlete but that didn’t stop me from trying.  Like the time I decided to enter a 65-mile bicycle ride to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I bought a road bicycle the week before the event and the furthest I’d ever ridden at that time was 6 miles. Somehow, I made it.  I lost my water bottle on the first huge hill and watched it roll all the way down the hill behind me.  I was hardly moving enough to even keep my bike upright at that point, and wasn’t coordinated enough to grab the water bottle from its holder and keep peddling in first gear.  BUT, when it was over, despite being sunburned and blistered, as well as, one of the last ones to finish, I felt strong! Actually, I felt relieved but I would say “strong” was a close second. Luckily, I could acquire this same, sweaty, tired and strong feeling from yard work, fundraisers such as garage sales or car washes for worthy causes, and puppies. Yes, taking care of puppies is exhausting and requires strength. If you can’t imagine the number of squats it takes to clean up after a litter of puppies, either trust me or try it.

Hard work gives me strength. There is nothing that makes me feel stronger than working really hard at something to the point of physical exhaustion.  

There is a plaque hanging in my home with an anonymous quote, “All the hard work in the world is done by tired people.”

But, how could I translate this feeling of “strong” to the middle-aged me with debilitating arthritis? What makes me feel strong now? The question really gave me pause. Merriam-Webster gives an alternative definition of ‘strong’ as “having moral or intellectual power” and that really resonated. Absolutely! I love being able to defend an argument based on factual research. Mid-life is the perfect time to devote more time to study and self-development, especially if you’ve never done anything similar in the past.

Apparently, the famous “knowledge is power” was first “coined by Francis Bacon in 1597.”

García, José María Rodríguez. “Scientia potestas est – Knowledge is Power: Francis Bacon to Michel Foucault” , vol. 119, no. 1, 2001, pp. 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1515/ANGL.2001.1

A friend of mine recently published a book, “Philosophy Wise” in which she summarizes many of the world’s greatest philosopher’s theories in language that is interesting and easy to understand. At the end of each section, she includes a guideline to illustrate how you can apply those concepts to your life in modern times. I found it quite fascinating, almost like years of self-development exercises contained in one little book. I felt strong reading that book and today, I feel strong making this entry into my blog.

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