When I first saw this cartoon by Tom Fonder, I thought, “That seems nice, to leave the party and go to the woods.” Parties are nice and all, seeing friends and family, but they can feel intense, exhausting, draining. Time alone, quiet, is needed to recover.
When lifting weights, or with any practice, improvement comes not during the lifting, but after, as your body recovers and builds new muscle and new myelin. Next time will be easier. The path becomes well-trodden.
If you practice.
What if you don’t? Or, more precisely, what if you practice a maladaptation? Suppose you sacrifice form to make a personal record. You can make the one-rep max, sure, but you also reinforced a movement pattern. What are the consequences? Down that path lies easy injury.
This year I didn’t drink anything at Thanksgiving, and haven’t for some months now. It changes your perspective to avoid that haze. Now when I look at this cartoon I see something else: panels two and three. The party has moved from drinks with dinner to raucous laughter to oblivion. How many others need a social lubricant? Who found the quick way?
There are others at the party who are like this man who has left to go to the wood. He is not alone.
For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. [Matthew 7:13]