On Monday, I brought back Posture Monday with a mashup of my recent noodlings about success, and my much older noodlings about posture correction. Long story short, it may have taken years (about 5 of them) for me to arrive at a place where good posture is my default setting, but I got there.
Let’s continue that theme.
If I dedicate Posture Monday exercises, and Posture Thursday to stories about the unexpected benefits of posture correction, then I guess today I owe you a story. Maybe a story that (as with Monday) links success blogging with posture blogging.
In physics, critical mass is the amount of fissile material required to maintain a self-sustaining nuclear reaction. As a physicist/engineer, I find I draw analogies between physics and engineering concepts and stuff out here in the far less predictable world of life.
For example, I found when learning a new language, there was a point when you no longer needed a classroom, or textbook, or dictionary to improve. You could use your existing knowledge to make connections and figure out new words. You no longer thought in English, translating back and forth with the new language, you thought in the new language.
In short, you had achieved “critical mass.” Your language skills improve without directly working on them, but rather simply by using them. This happened to me twice, once at 14 and again at 38, and I remember those moments as if they were yesterday.
It can happen with any new skill. You plug along, and you plug along until one day, you suddenly realize, “Eureka,” you’ve done it, you made it to your goal, and you’re still getting better. That’s what happened to me Sunday night, when I realized that ½ a decade of work had paid off in good posture now being my default setting.
Okay, where’s the new posture story?
Let us cast our minds back to the distant past, a happier, less pandemic-y time…January. I was in the midst of a puck battle along the boards and I felt a little “click” in my lumbar spine.
In years gone by, that little click foretold a week of pain, bed rest and muscle relaxants. Today it no longer does. Oh, I was a little sore after the game, but it was the soreness of overused muscles; I really should try to remember I’m not a teenager anymore, and play accordingly. I should, but I won’t.
Anyway, when I was learning to fix my back and my posture, I worked on it almost daily. By January of this year, I knew I had generally good posture, and a pretty healthy back, and had reduced my posture specific exercises to three days a week. Somewhere in those 5 years I had hit critical mass, and my posture was getting better without constant, direct work.
And, along with my posture getting better, my funky lumbar spine is also better. I haven’t had a pinched lumbar nerve in…I can’t actually remember. I’m doing newer, tough workouts. I’ve added a new summertime hobby (kayaking) that has the potential to be brutal on my spine. I’ve even started to re-introduce spinal motion that I completely eliminated 4 years ago as a part of fixing myself.
You see, I’ve achieved critical mass. Pain free, spine healthy movement is natural to me; I do it without conscious effort, rather I naturally, habitually put myself in spine healthy shapes for everything I to.
Success is like genius, 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration; put in enough work, and you’ll make it.