The Boy asked me once, “What counts as rock music?” Let me just say, there’s nothing quite like a precocious kid to keep you on your toes. There I was, on the spot, trying to define rock and roll. Of course, he had an answer in his head, and I had to convince him otherwise. (Stephen Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”)

Sammy Hagar told me that there’s only one way to rock, so this shouldn’t have been that hard of a question to answer, right? Rock is… well, what is it exactly? Most people define it based on what they prefer. If you are a heavy music fan, that is rock and the rest is pop. Meanwhile, if you are into alternative, that is your definition of rock and the heavy stuff may be just noise and screaming.

Incidentally, while writing this, I came across this gorgeous graphic showing different types and styles of rock and other 4/4 music styles… I could just stare at this all day – along with this one breaking down hard rock/metal genres with example bands. But, I digress – SQUIRREL!

Uh…. Wut???

What exactly in the hell am I talking about, you ask? I’m saying there is no one simple answer to The Boy’s question. Throughout our lives we try and simplify comparisons – at work, home life, wherever. This is an easy shortcut to relate to anything – you know what A is, so if B is like A you can get your mind around B easily.

For example, every young baseball player gets compared to someone who came before; “he’s the next Mickey Mantle!” has been said more times than anyone can count. No one is the next Mantle; it’s an oversimplified (lazy) way to explain that the kid is very athletic and has huge talent. God forbid a fan just watches the kid play and judges for himself…

It is easier for our brains to lump things into big groups than to think about everything and everyone on their own basis. In truth, though, everything has its own merits and issues; we are all a little different. I train differently than anyone else I know, eat differently, and so on. What I do works for me – YMMV.


If we know we are all a little different, why do we spend so much time with the yardsticks out, comparing to each other? Does it matter when that guy does 20 burpees in the same time I do 15? Do I care if that lady has 15 pound dumbbells and I have 10’s? Well, uh, yeah, it does and I do. Shouldn’t, but there you go. I’m competitive and I don’t like to “finish second.” I don’t want to get outworked – but, really, that’s listening with the intent to reply.

One of the biggest steps in my journey has been realizing – and standing fast on – what is right for me. Not that guy and his burpees, or that lady and her 15’s. So yes, I notice your dumbbells, but I am using 10’s for a reason. I am following my plan, and if I jump to a bigger weight I may lose form. Then I counteract my gains, or worse, hurt myself.

I look to friends and experts for advice, but I take that advice with a grain of salt. Here’s the thing – I have to live my life, and do what works for me. Where is the line, though? When to follow instruction, and when to veer from the path?

The experts (usually) have experience and knowledge behind them, but a true expert also knows there is wiggle room in there. A wellness journey is not an exact science; A+B does not always equal C here. Often, a trainer in group classes will give modifications to allow for this. Take this to heart; there’s no reason to be so “tough” that you hurt yourself.

Listen to understand; take what you hear and see, and turn it into what you can use. Now get up and get started – it’s time.

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash