"Well, that's not how we do it in California. In California, we don't get the keys to the house until the deed has changed to my name. I mean, if I get the keys to the house, and now it's my house but the deed is in the others guys' name, well, something could happen to it. Right? Like what if it catches fire and it's my house but the deed isn't in my name? That's just not how we do it in California. That...that's just not right."
"Well, yes, that may be true but we're not in California. We're in Texas. And, we do things differently here."
Ellen has told me stories like this many times: how her clients moving from another state to Austin wish that the housing prices, contracts, processes, etc. were like what they had in their home state. Sounds very familiar to me. The state you're in determines how things go, doesn't it? If your knee aches, is swollen, hurts climbing stairs, it doesn't matter how badly you would like to be in a different physical state; how you used to be in the state of running condition, basketball condition, skiing condition. You'll even catch yourself saying things like, "I used to be able to run 3 or 5 miles and never had a problem. So, why do I have a problem now?"
Welcome to a new physical state.
But, the good news is that unlike my wife's clients who can wish all they want that they were in California or Florida or Ohio, you, my friend, can change your physical state. It is one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings. We can change our physical, mental, and emotional states and thereby transform ourselves and lives. We can change.
The hardest thing about changing your physical state is that you must first accept it. You have to accept that your knee swells when you walk around the block; that running is simply not possible right now. And, sometimes accepting the state you're in feels like you're quitting or giving up on some part of your life. Well, that doesn't have to be the case. You can let go and hang on at the same time.
There are limits to what you can do, of course, but what I am referring to is not trying to play middle linebacker in the NFL but restore an active, healthy, dynamic, lifestyle that propels you through your life and makes it a full, robust, joyful existence. There is plenty of scientific evidence that strongly suggests, regardless of your age, you can change your physical state and effectively turn back the functional clock several years.
To change your physical state or condition, start by taking a piece of paper and drawing a line down the middle of it. On the left hand side, write down (and for whatever reason, handwriting serves a different function than typing so follow these instructions precisely) your current state. How do you feel in the morning? Mid-day? Evening? How much energy do you have? Do you feel happy most days? Most of each day? Do you have aches and pains? Where are they? When do they show up? What are the things you can't do now that you would love to do? What things can you do easily and what things are difficult? What limits your physical function? Is it pain, stiffness, weakness, balance? Start developing a picture of your current state using present tense language (e.g. I am a 36 year old man, who is tired in the morning, whose right knee feels stiff and aches. I'm 30 lbs. overweight. I use alcohol to wind down at night and caffeine to wind up in the morning. I jog and my knee swells. I cannot play with my kids. I can't go to Fiesta Texas with my kids unless I sit down most of the time. I'm frustrated, pissed off that I can't even work out). When you do this, you may not like what ends up on the paper. That's normal. It is, however, you. The more information you have, the more complete the picture will be.
If you really want to change your physical state, you must know and accept your physical state.
When you finish describing your current state, use the right hand side of the paper to write down what you really want. And, be honest. Spend some time really thinking about it. What's the most important thing for you? What would give you the greatest joy? Your statements might sound like, "I am a 36 year old man who sleeps soundly at night, wakes up feeling good most days. I am physically active, exercising 4 days per week and the only ache or pain I have is from sore muscles from time to time. I can walk for hours, jog 2 miles, play with my kids. My life is rewarding and full."
If you really want to change your physical state, you must know what physical state you want.
When you know what new physical state you want, the path to get there will emerge: the people you need to help you, the knowledge, tools, the time, the money. I'm not sure how this happens but I have seen it happen over and over. One reason for this is that when your intentions are clear, you take different actions. You become more focused and determined so everything downstream from that intention changes. A clear purpose creates a clear path.
Accepting is not quitting. Accepting is not settling. Accepting is starting.
Want to be in a state other than the one you're in? Get started, then.