This essay came in second in a contest on T-Nation.com, and won me tons of free shit. Thanks to TC Luoma.
Not for the weak of heart: www.T-Nation.com
Life, inevitably, is little more than a series of deaths. We're born, we come into this world burning with hope and an aura of invincibilty, and then sixty or seventy years later, we're in the ground, as dead as Julius Ceasar. There is no way to avoid this.
When we're young, we're flooded with testosterone- it flares up, explodes behind us forcing us ahead and driving driving driving until you feel your hair burn and you can't breathe without turning your head. We fight like furies, drink too much, drive like psychos on mescalin, and roar down the winding one lane roads of life, gazing at the drop off the cliff that lies near, but we laugh anyway because that could never happen to us, we will never die, we are fucking invincible!
Some of us careen off that cliff in a flaming car with alcohol soaked lungs, cackling until we realize there is no turning back, and then scramble to get out; it is too late. Some of us fall one day, our eyes roll back, and we drop, fighting and dying and knowing that it is over, and that it's not our choice. Some of us just get that urge to cut the wheel...and its the last urge we ever get.
The rest of us make it. And when we make it, a lot of times we just kind of...well, sit back. A comfortable job, a wife or two, a kid, and before some guys realize it, they're twenty years older and thirty pounds heavier. It isn't even the weight that really kills them though; its the lack of competition, the lack of a cohesive goal. In a gray world where everything has three sides and then the truth, weightlifting is one of the only black and white things around. If you're in this game, you don't get stale, and the only times you are stagnant is if you are doing something very, very wrong. As Henry Rollins said, "Two hundred pounds just sits on the bar saying, 'Lift me or don't". We are always succeeding or failing- there is no "almost", "coming close", or "gray area. You got that bar off your chest, or you didn't. That's all there is to it. For some of us it quells insecurities; for others, it's the thing that keeps us sane through all of life's tribulations. Whatever the reasons for engaging in this noble endeavor, the benefits are nearly uncountable.
This website is just that: a website. The information is here is reliable, and there are guys on here who have been lifting weights since World War II. Of course, this thing isn't going to do the shit for you. Just because all the information is in one spot doesn't mean that it gets any easier, the sessions get any less intense, or you have to work any less. Nothing in the world compares to the experience of years under the iron, and no fancy program can compensate for a lack of dedication to the craft.
However, when you hang out here, you learn the tough way. No one will feel bad for you if you're not trying hard enough, because frankly we don't care. But if you seriously want the strength and power, than this is the place you want to be. If you want to feel like a top dog, and learn how to do it... than this is your home.
This is the kind of place that rubs off on you. You come here, and you won't be stagnant, you won't regress, and, most importantly, you'll have no excuses. Its kind of how life should always be, but never will; no apologies, and balls to the wall. Turn the fire inwards, and make it work for you instead of destroying you. The lessons we learn in the humid, dank weight rooms are lessons that will transfer to all other aspects of our lives, and the perseverance shown there will remind us that the only thing holding us back is ourselves.
The fact is, we all end up in ground. We don't know if it's going to be today, tommorow, a week from now, or a half century from now. The only thing that we can do is grab this bitch called life by the teeth, and force it to go the way we want. Sometimes it rips our hands off, but more often then not it'll go where we decide to take it. T-Nation is a place that will teach you how to do this, and help channel your furies into something productive so your time in between birth and death goes your way, and no one else's.