BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

Progress is Fleeting, But Process is Permanent

Man hiking on a cliff above the clouds

I am a renter.

I’m renting every bit of progress I’ve made — physically, emotionally, creatively.

And it takes far less than a missed monthly payment to have it repossessed.

This is a concept my brother mentioned to me awhile back. And it’s a concept I’ve come face to face with the last few days.

Almost two weeks ago, Hurricane Harvey made landfall, devastating the southeast Texas coast and dumping historic rains on Houston that would seemingly never stop.

I spent the ensuing five days on the couch, mixing in episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” between local newscasts, feeling as guilty as I was grateful that the horrific onscreen images were not representative of my situation.

I didn’t write, I barely exercised and I didn’t hesitate to supplement my desserts of peanut M&Ms with a handful of Hershey’s miniatures.

Shortly after Harvey’s departure, I spent Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas celebrating a friend’s birthday.

(Enough said.)

This past Tuesday morning brought me back to reality. And it’s been harsh ever since.

Everything has been harder. It’s been harder to get through my workouts, and it’s been harder to formulate complete sentences, much less a complete article. My stamina, my speed, they’re a shadow of what they were not all that long ago.

It’s frustrating because achieving marked results requires weeks, if not months, of toeing the line.

Yet giving it all, or most of it, back requires a much shorter stint off the wagon.

Why is the development-decline dynamic so lopsided?

Despite my bruised ego and sore quadriceps, I believe things will get better.

I’ve climbed this mountain before. And by leaning on the habits I’ve built, I’m hopeful I can climb it again.

Because even though I’ll always owe on my progress, I can still own my process.

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