This blog is a project that I’ve been working on for a long time; I just didn’t quite realize it until now. It’s funny how much of life works out that way.
I don’t recall the exact date, though I remember the moment quite well. I was in a Peet’s coffee on 2nd Street in Long Beach. I had just finished reading ‘The God Delusion’, which in retrospect is hardly a philosophical stalwart, but still a compelling and moving force to somebody struggling to break the glass. I remember the sense of joy, fear, and relief that came over me as all the fear and baggage of my childhood and adolescence slowly lost its grip on me, and for the first time in my life, I began to see the universe for what it really was: a mysterious and terrifying coincidence, but our mysterious and terrifying coincidence.
Two years later, I still struggle to wrap my head around the whole thing, but a part of me knows that it’s supposed to be that way. Maybe that’s the hardest part–letting go of those neatly packaged but ultimately unsatisfying answers and taking the risk of seeking the truth, no matter where it leads.
Let’s fast forward to now. There will be plenty of time to fill in some of the blank spaces later. You may be asking, correctly, why this blog is any different than the thousands of other Atheism-related blogs that have emerged recently. This is a blog about two things that matter to me: Atheism and weight lifting. Perhaps an unlikely combination, so let me explain.
When I decided to let go of the notion of “God’s plan” and realized just how fragile existence really is, two distinct things happened. The first, shamefully, is that I was terrified. The idea that life might not work out exactly the way I would hope and that there is no omni-benevolent force arbitrating the outcomes left me somewhat shell-shocked. But when this initial reaction wore off, an even more terrifying, but empowering realization came over me: I am in the driver’s seat, and while I’m certain to encounter circumstances that are beyond my control, my actions and their consequences belong to me alone, and there is no means of scapegoating them.
With this in mind, I began to take control of my life. I got serious about school and thought long and hard about what really interested me. I realized that Computer Science wasn’t for me, and I took an interest in Economics. I got off my ass and started taking the initiative to meet and make friends. I started reading about atheism, theology, and philosophy and began to form educated opinions on issues. Ironically, I found that as my knowledge of the world broadened, my sense of certainty and dogmatism diminished. The more I learned, the more I realized how little I actually knew.
And finally, I got tired of being weak and skinny, so with the help of some wonderful friends, I decided to get serious about weight training and building muscle. Needless to say, I have a long ways to go, but I still can’t believe how far I’ve come in such a short time.
In the past six months, I’ve gained roughly 30 pounds of mostly muscle. I’ve added 120 pounds to my squat, 140 pounds to my deadlift, 60 pounds to my bench press, and 70 pounds to my overhead press. This journey has been difficult, and I’ve encountered my share of sebacks, but I’ve kept my head down and taken control. The feeling I get from a setting a new personal record almost rivals the sense of empowerment that comes from letting go of religion.
This blog is a chance for me to document my journey both physically and mentally. Now let’s all do some really fucking heavy deadlifts.