11-07-19: Why Fitness is Important to Me

When it comes to my personal fitness, there's a lot of reasons I value it. I like to feel good, look good, have a routine... but I think this story sums up why I care so much about it.

My father's parents are buried in a secluded forest plot on the outskirts of Hangzhou, China. Every few years my father made the trek to pay his respects. My brother and I had joined him on many of these occasions. These trips usually involved short somber silence, the lighting of incense, kowtowing at the grave, and an offering or two. Our family vacation would resume shortly thereafter.

There was one time that was different. After leaving the offerings, my father took a moment to reflect. He had lost his parents at a young age, but he remembered the love he received from them. He remembered what it was like to be in a happy, whole family, even in the midst of terrible living conditions during the Cultural Revolution. As he spoke about these things, he began to break down. This man, whose steadfast  strength I thought was a given, was grieving openly in a way I had never seen before. His time with his parents was cruelly stolen, and that pain had always stuck with him, even if he didn't show it.

I realized in that moment how much of a gift presence was. My father was always present, always able to engage in activities with my brother and me, always able to make the extra effort for his family. I resolved then that I, too, would do everything I could to be present for the ones I loved, now, and in the future. I want to be able to see my kids grow into adults, I want to be able to spend many years after I've done my work passing on everything I can to a younger generation. And I want to feel good and look good while doing it.

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