It was a Tuesday that felt like a terrible re-run of a Monday. My retreat to a post-work weight lifting class compounded the unpleasantness instead of releasing it. I didn’t mean flip my bar over so quickly to add weights to the unloaded side that I accidentally clubbed a classmate in the head. I said I was sorry at least 10 times. I meant it. And she meant it when she muttered, “you really need to pay attention to what you’re doing.”
And so the question that had loomed over the earlier part of the day returned. “What could I have done differently?” I slunk back to my bench in the center of the room without any answers. I made an effort to consolidate my extra weights into the most compact of piles. Maybe I was trying to seem more considerate and harmless to those within a bar’s reach. Or maybe I was trying to shrink my presence in an effort to disappear.
I spent the entire class trying to stay serious, focused and present while never turning my head in the left direction. I couldn’t risk eye contact with the victim of my distraction who luckily was still up for the one-hour workout. There was a fleeting moment when I silently argued that maybe she was positioned a little too close to the weight rack and if she had paid attention to her surroundings she would have escaped the impact. But I knew it was my fault and there’s nothing I hate more than screwing up.
What could I have done differently? It’s only now, three hours later, I’ve realized the question should be “what can I do differently?” And the answer is simple: walk into that gym, prepare for class like I’ve done every other time without incident and enjoy my workout. In other words, see it for what was – an unfortunate mistake, not a pattern.