A Matter of Perspective

Perspective is difficult to maintain sometimes.

The Olympic games in Rio have been going on for over a week now and there have been some pretty impressive performances.  How can there not be?  These are the premier athletes doing what they do on the world stage and they have not disappointed.

Along with the Olympic competitions going on I’ve seen memes suggesting Olympic events should include one average person for reference.  I find this idea amusing in a couple of ways and it was brought home directly last Friday.  I’d been down in our workout room (a fancy term for the unfinished basement room where the treadmill and stationary recumbent bike live) doing my daily (usually) run on my treadmill.  I came up from the basement as the end of the women’s 10,000 meter race was approaching and stood there watching Almaz Ayana break the world record, finishing the 6.2 mile run in a little over 29 minutes.


That’s scooting right along.  I know that is scooting right along because I’d just finished running 3.4 miles in a little over 45 minutes.

2016-08-15 10.34.30

If I’m doing my math correctly, Ms Ayana ran twice as far as I’d just done in about half the time.

Putting it another way, I was halfway through my run before she started her race, and then proceeded to run twice as far as I was plodding through.  Basically, if we’d been on the same 400m track and started at the same time, she would have lapped me for the second time as I came out of the back stretch on my initial lap.  She was scooting right along.

Essentially, that’s what a comparison with an average person might look like. Not an exact comparison no doubt because I run somewhat slower than many but I’m also older than many who run (I’m 53 and did a little over 4 miles this morning). I guess it comes down to a matter of perspective.

There’s a whole lot of invalid and unneeded comparison going on in the world.  A little competition can be healthy and motivating but our perspectives have been twisted by a media marketing machine that tries to convince us we need to eat this and do that in order to appear ____________ with the appearance blank changing on a fairly regular basis for the purpose of keeping us chasing some ideal that is out in front of us, just out of reach.

Far better that we work to be comfortable in our own skin, without concerning ourselves with how we compare to others.  It is true that most of us could use a bit more exercise and most of us could use a few more fruits and vegetables.  That doesn’t mean that we’re designed to fit into anything besides the skin we were born with.

It makes no more sense for us to compare ourselves to others than it does for me to compare myself to Almaz Ayana.  From my perspective it was great to see a world class athlete set a world record.  It was also great for me to finish a 3 mile run that day.

It’s not a competition but it is a matter of perspective.

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