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Elite or egalitarian... can you be both?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A couple of e-words have been bouncing around in my brain. This one is what came of the blog I put on the back burner back on New Year's eve.

One word is "elistism". It's bouncing around because of two things: First - the 5% who keep it off after losing significant weight. Second - the classification of the best of the best athletes as "elite". It started bounding about because of admitting to being a "success story" earlier this week and a growing awareness that I'm in the 120's at the first of the year for the third year running.

Does that make me part of an "elite group"? My little Websters says that "elistism" implies sensing oneself as part of an elite group. And just what is an elite group? On to the next definition: "1 the group or part of a group selected or regarded as the finest, best, most distinguished, most powerful, etc."

One could consider those who successfully maintain long-term as an elite group.

Then the rebel in me brings up the other word, one I hold dear: "egalitarian". Because I like to think of myself as an egalitarian. Normal. Like everybody. Americans especially want to hold this value dear: after all, it's part of our declaration of independence. It's patriotic to be an egalitarian.

But as I found when I scurried a few pages back in my Webster's: it may not mean what I thought it did! One can be both a member of the elite and an egalitarian. Because "egalitarian" is "1 advocating or characterized by the belief that all people should have equal political, social, and economic rights".

Whoa! It doesn't mean believing we are all equal and the same in our talents, abilities, or achievements! It means I believe everyone has the right to pursue to the best of what is in us, to reach for our goals and desires. We won't get into politics, here... in this blog we talk Spark-y things like weight loss, fitness, and a healthy life style.

As an egalitarian I have no secrets about how I have got from there to here. I believe everyone who wants it should have the right to pursue success. But there are no guarantees of equal results. I'm definitely NOT an elite athlete. Yet I aspire to be part of the elite of maintainers of a healthy weight following the size of loss I've had.

I prize the egalitarian attitude: you want it? You can go for it! And if you keep pursuing with the single minded focus of "this is saving my life"... you can do it.

You don't have to be an elitist to recognize that you're worth the effort. Because being worth the effort? That's part of the inalienable right to pursue happiness! And this is a very egalitarian concept.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Guess I'll be both!
    1895 days ago
    Yes, I believe that you are both!!!--Fantastic thought eh??--- And I feel honoured to know you too----my IDOL!!--Look what you have accomplished girlfriend?-- emoticon
    1895 days ago
    Interesting thoughts and words.
    You are part of a community. Many communities. They are all elite, yes? Small (relative term) groups banded together because of common beliefs goals met or goals to be met
    Or is it egalitarian?

    Either way I think you are fun! emoticon
    1895 days ago
    Interesting thoughts. I have a negative association with "elite" and had to go looking for translation to see why ( in swedish it is "elit") and both swedish and english wikipedia says that an elit is "A special group or social class of people which have a SUPERIOR"

    I can´t deal with the superior thing. And although I admire you and respect your achievements I can´t say that I think you are better than me... just as if I achieved the same things would never call myself better that those who did not get there.

    I have a big resistance to the word "elite",maybe that is something I have to work with because I think it is good to recognize people who do good with hard things. But elite...nah...
    1895 days ago
    With the time and effort you have put into your training for your events- I would say you are an elite athlete.
    1895 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1896 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Excellent epiphany! Great to be both!! Like the motto says Be all YOU can be! Your success and acheivements does not take away from anyone's else's. What is good on your scale may be totally different from someone else's.
    Here is to the success of all people in their chosen goals!
    1896 days ago
    Excellent blog! I support your point of view. I am an egalitarian in the dictionary sense and also an elitist in the intellectual and musical sense. No need to apologize for that, right? Thanks for the important reminder: "This is saving my life." I need to keep that at the forefront.
    1896 days ago
    I commend you on being both and putting it into words so well!
    1896 days ago
    Equal opportunity, not equal outcomes.
    We are responsible for what we do and how we perceive what we do.
    If we do the work we own the results.
    You are at elite at maintaining your weight. There is no question about that.

    1896 days ago
    Great blog!! Great truth here!! We have equal opportunity to pursue health and fitness.

    And, truth be told, you are an elite 60 year old athlete in my book, Barb!! -Marsha
    1896 days ago
    emoticon Well put!
    1896 days ago
    Huzzah! Well said, my dear, well said.

    I hope I can join you in the elite weight loss maintainer crew.
    1896 days ago
    Wonderful blog Barb! I never investigated these words as you have and I am so glad you did. You can be both! emoticon
    1896 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    may you be HAPPY (Loving kindness meditation)...
    1896 days ago
    We all choose our path and have to put in the work to get from point A to point B. I would guess that you could claim both ... it normal for people with commitment and motivation to arrive at the top of the heap in whatever endeavor (another e word) they throw themselves into.

    Keep that little Webster handy ... You need it to look up FABULOUS so you can see your glowing picture! emoticon
    1896 days ago
    Equality of opportunity versus equality of outcomes . . . something has to happen in the middle, and there's no "right" to that, just a huge commitment to daily responsibility. Here in Canada we have a Charter of Rights . . . a good thing . . . but can be read in a morally vacuous manner if asserted without understanding that every right entails a reciprocal responsibility.

    And as Aristotle said, part of what motivates us to sustain the extraordinary effort required to achieve our goals is recognition from others that we have done so. Pretty much a fact of human nature, I think . . .

    Does that occur anywhere more visibily than in our bodies?? Hard to hide from anyone whether we are or are not self-disciplined enough to achieve fitness. If that makes us "elitist" . . . well, it's not an elitism that takes anything away from anyone else who has the same equality of opportunity.

    Great blog, Barb.
    1896 days ago
    If you want to, you can - you can pursue success, achieve your goals, and take pride in the accomplishment.

    If it takes courage and determination to reach those goals, and the majority aren't willing to work for it or accept setbacks, if most people will give up before they reach the finish line, then those who DO stay the course will be a small percentage.

    Isn't that what "the elite" are, in that case? Those who choose to persevere, to make the commitment and keep on trying until they succeed.

    At the same time, believing everyone is capable of achieving their goals - well, that's a pretty egalitarian outlook, seems to me.

    A long-winded way of saying - yes, Barb, I think you can be both. I think you are. You may be in an elite group in terms of the small percentage who reach the summits of their endeavors - but you are the first to extend a hand to others, to say "Let me help you, you can reach this goal."

    I'm proud to know you, hon...

    1896 days ago
    I guess you are a part of an elite group of maintainers who believes in equality for A good blog, Barb and thoughts to ponder emoticon
    1896 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/12/2013 9:10:53 AM
    What a fantastic blog! I never truely thought about the difference in those two words, but how you can fit BOTH!

    Congratulations on your maintenance! It's a trip, isn't it!

    1896 days ago
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