What Are You Making?
14 Apr 2023

I gained an appreciation for bodybuilding when I ceased to think about it in terms of mere attractiveness – and started thinking about it as sculpting in flesh. The Herculean physique might not be personally attractive to me – but I can appreciate the effort it takes. The macros and micros, the hormones and chemical balances, the sets and reps – the regular and consistent effort invested, chipping away at crafting, painstakingly, a form. Taking a natural piece of material and revealing, layer after laboured layer, its potential within. Taking what is naturally given and elevating that to levels beyond.

Thus it is with all things – nothing is just given, nothing is perfected straight out of the box. The physique, the sculpture, the product, the career, the relationship, the artwork, the family, the home, the soil, the life, love – all any of it really takes is consistent selfless effort, commitment and dedication. And time.

I drive myself because I want to contribute, my ambition is for meaning and not money. Perhaps my aspirations are as misplaced or misguided as that of the materialist – it doesn’t matter, not really – we are no more captains of our motivations than we are masters of our involuntary reflexes. We do what we do because we are wired that way – it is important to us, it matters, rightly or wrongly, there are few choices in such matters.

Is work meaning? Is the result the point, or the effort put in? Is the reward the point – or the product?

I do not know. But I walk around and from time to time I see something so awesomely beautiful that I feel shamed for not doing more with what I have been given.

I am reminded to reflect on progress, smell the roses, appreciate the gains and celebrate little victories along the way. And yet there is such beauty and such mastery in the world that I fear my inadequacies will leave me a mere fraction of what I could have created, enacted or achieved. Perhaps such insecurities drive us onwards. Perhaps fear runs our asses to excellence.

But every now and then I get to stand in the presence of something so profoundly beautiful that it moves me. Moves me to want to be better.

It’s not unhealthy, not pathological, not an obsession, or self-flagellation. Just an awareness…

I am here, for now, for but a flash. With that, what will I do?

Could I make something? Could I try?