On June 26th of this year, I turned 57 years old. I was told years before by some experts that I would be dead by the time I was 57. Nothing motivates me more than proving an expert wrong when they have an opinion about the path my life will take. I’ve made it a habit since birth.
To punctuate the point that only God and my choices determine the outcome of my life, I set a goal on January 1st, 2016 to do 1000 pushups on my birthday. I trained hard and on my birthday afternoon Ana and I went to the gym to face the challenge. It took one hour, ten minutes and two seconds to prove that my path in life can be whatever I want it to be, God willing. But I didn’t do 1000 pushups, I did 1007. I wasn’t going to be limited, even by my own goals.
I posted about it after we got home from the gym. My friends and loved ones gave me some great atto-boys. It felt really good, and I was proud. I let the dust settle on the whole affair, and the world got on with its business.
But something else happened that day that I didn’t post about, and it was a much bigger deal than me and my pushups. I saved it till now because I didn’t want it to be mashed into my pushup story and minimize its significance. It was one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.
Ana came with me to the gym on my birthday to hang out and cheer me on. But when I started the timer, and my pushup marathon began, Ana got down on the floor beside me and started doing pushups as well. I had a significant objective to reach, and I expected it to be a solitary endeavor, but it wasn’t. I thought she would give up when the deep pain set in, but she didn’t. Ana did pushups with me, set for set, through the entire time completing 635 knee-pushups.
Ana explained afterward that she didn’t want me to face this challenge alone. She wanted to feel the whole thing with me. Unlike me she had no goals, she just wanted me to know that I was worth the pain and effort, and never alone in anything I chose to do. She said that I did what was needed to survive to this point and that if I could do that for us, she could do this with me.
I can’t describe what that gift did to me, and our relationship. The physical test she faced was far more difficult than mine. I had set a goal and trained specifically for this, it was just another workout. Ana trains all the time but not for this. She just brought an unfathomable love and a commitment to fill me with that love no matter the cost.
I can describe Ana’s personality and character in a multitude of admirable ways, yet the quality that makes the greatest impact on all she touches is her capacity to love. It’s beyond comprehension. I can’t imagine a child having a better mother, a person having a better friend, or a husband being more strengthened, proud and happy than I am to call her my wife.
On my birthday I was a guy that did 1007 pushups at 57 years old. It was a cool achievement. I had set the goal and worked hard so I could tell myself and the world that I achieved it. Ana Tigre got down on the floor and never left my side, and did 635 pushups with me. The world never knew about it until now because she did it just for me.
Ana Tigre changed the trajectory of my life that day. When she says she loves me, I know what that means more than ever, and I know there is no limit to that love. And there is no limit to mine or what I would do for her and to protect us, so we are forever together and strong.
There is immeasurable power in doing the right thing, no matter how uncomfortable or challenging it is.