March 09

Nobody Will Pick That Up But You

Ohhhh moms.  Why are they always so flipping RIGHT about everything?!?! They make these statements to you when you’re like 12 —-> you receive them in an angry manner and assume they know nothing —-> you turn 25 —-> the mind bomb finally explodes in your mid-20s head and realize they were RIGHT!  Ugh!

This is a story from my childhood that has come back to haunt me in more ways than one this week.

When I was young, maybe around 10 or so, I was HORRIFICALLY messy.  You couldn’t even clear a path from my bedroom door to my bed most days. I could never find anything. I left empty toilet paper rolls in the bathroom. I left dishes on the counter. I left homework laying on the table. You name it, I didn’t consider it.  My mom HATED this about me.

I remember one specific day where after a long day at school, I had a lunchbox malfunction in our dining room, and the remnants of my lunch fell all over the floor.  Grumbling, I picked everything up, but I missed a piece of an apple core. I remember seeing the apple core on the ground and thinking “My hands are already full. Mom will come back and get that.”

I was right, but I paid for it. My mom brought me back into the room and pointed out the apple. She didn’t get mad at me for leaving a dirty, eaten, apple core on our hardwood floor. She just simply said “I’ll pick this up for you. But someday, there isn’t going to be anyone else to pick your things up. They’ll just stay there until YOU make the decision to pick them up.  I won’t always be able to follow you around picking up your mess.” Classic annoying mom, right?!??!  Fast forward about 15 years.

Probably because I have PTSD from my messy years, I am now a complete clean freak. However, I just moved into a new apartment so I’ve got some boxes, disorganization, etc in my new spot.  I’ve been noticing this JCREW clothing tag that is on the floor peeking out from underneath my dresser. I’ve probably passed it 5 times or more, but been in such a hurry that I’ve just thought “I’ll pick it up later.” But then I allow it to bug me every time I pass it! I hadn’t thought of this story in years, but on Sunday night, all the sudden, there was my mom’s voice echoing to me, “Nobody’s going to pick that up but you.”.  Damn was she right. I picked it up and felt much better about the whole trash on the floor situation.


Enough about my childhood – here’s how this story ties into your workouts: I did Monday’s CrossFit class with the 5PM class, and was sucking wind pretty bad (I hate running). On my last round, I was staring at my barbell getting ready for my last set of shoulder to overhead.  All the sudden, my mom’s voice echoed to me again – “Nobody’s going to pick that up but you.”  I realized it wasn’t going anywhere if I didn’t move it myself.  The workout wasn’t just going to magically end and I was going to be eating a grilled cheese on the beach somewhere. I took a few deep breaths, did my last set, called time, and contemplated crying/puking (didn’t wind up doing either).

As much as we would love to push our responsibilities on others and play the blame game when things don’t get done (ESPECIALLY responsibilities that aren’t fun or seem challenging or impossible), at the end of the day, most rewarding things in life are going to come from ourselves.  Only YOU can make sure your workouts count, your reps are counted right, your movement virtuosity is on point.  Only YOU can know if you dipped into the chocolate peanut butter ice cream at midnight.  Only YOU can make sure that the work you put in at your job is the best it can be, or that your house is clean – or maybe not clean, but at least organized enough that you can find a jar of almond butter or your 2012 tax return (hopefully not in the same place) without calling in a maid.


Don’t get me wrong – support systems (spouses/friends/family/pets) are SO necessary.  But realizing that your results in any aspect of life are really up to me, myself and I is both scary and very freeing.  So next time you just want a workout to end, a big meeting to be over, a garbage disposal to be unclogged, a closet to be organized…..just remember….it’ll only end when you get it done!!

Thanks Mom.