The end of the Space Shuttle program last month brought a nostalgic mood to my house. Generations of us were molded by the attainment of the impossible. My grandparents' generation experienced the first airplanes, jet travel, rockets orbiting the earth, humans walking on the moon, and landing a reusable spacecraft like an airplane. It seemed that as humans dreamed it, we did it.
Space travel sparked hope. It provided goals and frontiers - more to achieve. Life was shinier with unknown potential lurking on the horizon. Girls and boys alike fantasized about being astronauts - science and math were palatable. "Star Trek," "Star Wars," "Battlestar Galactica" - we were glued to all of it. Even the "Six Million Dollar Man" was an astronaut - oh, and don't forget "I Dream of Jeannie."
In my house, the nostalgia had us digging out the "From the Earth to the Moon" DVD set. It's a fabulous account of those awe-inspiring Apollo missions - where Mercury and Gemini left off - and Space Lab and the Shuttle would pick up.
When I watch those episodes, my heart swells. It's a thing of beauty what humans can do. The '60s and '70s had no laptops, no fiber optics, no cell phones. Those guys were using slide rules and punch cards. Thousands of people across the country had to do their jobs 100 percent right - from the people mopping floors to the people strategizing plans and acquiring funding. Everyone did his/her job to their maximum capacity and, together, we went to the moon in a tin can with less computing power than a Wal-Mart calculator. Absolutely amazing. It blows me away.
When I think about the capabilities we all hold within, and know that some of us tick away the precious minutes of our finite lives prostrate on a couch watching an inane, reality-TV show, I almost want to cry.
What would the world look like if everyone engaged their talents - worked to their capacity? If the focus shifted from Twinkies to inventions? From advertising gimmicks to cures for cancer? From vapid television shows to a garden?
We wouldn't flounder in self-pity. We wouldn't eat to obesity. We wouldn't sit so long our bodies became incapable of carrying us. We would exalt our individual and collective greatness. We would greet each day with our fullest capacity - anxious to show the world what we can contribute.
If "we" can get to the moon, surely "you" can get healthy and fit.
• NSCA certified personal trainer Shannon Sorrels holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and an MBA. Her company, Physix LLC, works with Valley individuals as well as groups to improve their overall fitness. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or visit www.azphysix.com.