I’m definitely getting into a rhythm of exercise for, I believe, the first time in my life. I’m not ready for the Olympics or even the personal best goal I’ve set for the half marathon walk I’m doing in October. Yet, I’m on the road. Literally. Walking, cycling.

Here’s the rub. At times, I start to feel like I know what I’m doing. I have the sense that I might be on to something, something good, something beneficial. Not that I’m becoming an expert, but that I’m becoming capable.

Then, someone reminds me that I’m not really all that and a bag of chips. Perhaps not even the crumbs. Here’s what I mean…

Some people are snobs in their respective exercise “field”. Maybe they’ve been running or walking or cycling for a long time. Maybe they work in an industry that supports walking or cycling. They know their stuff. They are consistent, sincere, dedicated. For whatever reason, we cross paths. I’m out walking, they’re out running. I’m on my bike, I stop by their store for some help, advice, to purchase a product.

And then it happens. That look, that condescending tone. That way of talking that makes you feel like you are less. Like you don’t know anything. And it’s like someone popped the balloon of possibility that my efforts have built to date.

This is why I don’t do gyms. Sometimes the people who work there are great, but the people who frequent the place look down at those of us who are real people, just trying to get into some semblance of “shape”.

I just don’t get it. When I love something, I want to share it. I want to engage other people in the activity. I want to give them help and share my stuff and my time to encourage them. My hubby is the epitome of the “encouraging others in their outdoor pursuits” type of guy.

Yet, I met someone two days ago who, under the guise of “helping”, informed me that I was off base in my choice of some gear. Her tone was condescending and just short of using a “tsk-tsk” wiggling finger. Really?

Thankfully, on the other end of the teeter-totter was an employee at the same store who today took over an hour to adjust my bike, helping me with “the fit” – we discussed many aspects of cycling and, although he obviously has a lifetime of experience, he was supportive and encouraging of my burgeoning efforts.  

Now that’s how it done.

The lesson in this is: I can’t change others, I can only change my reaction to them.

Darn, something else to work on!