Optimisim, You Say?

"Optimism? It's a mania for insisting everything is great when, really, we're all wretched." - Candide

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Oh, the Places You'll Go

Congratulations!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.

You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

-Dr. Suess, c. 1990


I stepped back and looked at the overall picture of this week's training, and I can't even explain how pleased I am. I see yoga, strength, bricks, long rides, babying a sore toe without going overboard on rest OR runs, and an openwater swim tomorrow. I did it all while managing a full-time job, two very part-time positions, a social schedule, a relationship, my medicines, and baby-sitting my friend's dogs . . . . and I was relatively successful at all of it.

Never in a million, bazillion years did I ever, EVER, EVER think it was possible.

I am SO amazed and proud of myself. And, more importantly, I feel incredibly grateful and blessed.


I'm even grateful for the cancer. In many ways, it taught me what I needed to get where I am now.


When I look at my recent blog entries compared to those just a few short months ago, I can't get over what a phenomenal difference I see. But when I look at my blog entries compared to those from my first few years of training, the difference is even clearer. I am more well-rounded now, as an athlete AND an individual, than I ever dreamed I could be.

Remember the girl who was so incredibly stressed about working and going to school that she feared she'd completely shut down if she had to do both? Remember the girl so afraid of her own drama that it bled all over her life, from her face to her Facebook? Remember the girl who agonized about how to reconcile the girlie-girl with the tomboy, the social butterfly with the athlete?

She stopped agonizing about HOW and just . . . . DID.


I also realized, looking back, that not only did I struggle through some awfully bitter and emotionally exhausting moments, that the pressure to report on and blog about my training became more important to me than actually putting in the training. When I took a break from triathlon, I wasn't only exhausted with trying to keep up the training and my life in general, but also by trying to keep up with reporting it!

Today my followers are fewer and farther between. My blog doesn't appear on anyone's "most read" list (largely because it's been private off and on while I decided what to share and hide.) And I'm completely okay with that. Those of you who follow me actually represent some of my best e-friends, tri-friends, and real-life friends.

I love to blog now because it's fun, and it's relaxing, and it's exciting to stay in touch with the tri-e-thletes I've come to know and love over the internet. But I don't care if I miss a few days, or even a few weeks, or - hell - a few months.

I know now that I've always had brains in my head, and feet in my shoes, and I could ALWAYS go anywhere I'd choose.


But I guess I finally, truly, realized that I am the guy who decides where I go.


And oh, the places I'll go.

Being satisifed in life is about more than just finding what you like and doing it. It's remembering that every single step you take is a step forward, and that every step forward, no matter how miniscule, moves you toward known and unknown goals. The second you realize that every step is positive forward motion, the less your tasks feel like to-dos and the more they feel like want-to-dos. And, if no matter how hard you try, they still feel like TO-DO's, then maybe you need to revise your goals.

I did . . . and it brought me right back to where I started.

And I suddenly don't care about how slow I am compared to others, or if I finish a race last, or if I make a mistake here and there. Everyone else is too worried about their own times to care about mine, I'm the only person for whom my finishes really matter, and the people who are able to help me along in my journey will know that a mistake or two builds character and teaches important lessons.

This is the beginning of a lifelong journey. This is the rebirth of a future stronger, and brighter, and more promising, than anything I have ever had or imagined having.

There will be still be challenges;I will still be alone at times. I'll still fail; I'll still falter. I'll still face dark times, and anger, and tears, and sadness. But I will face it all knowing how very far I've come.

And oh, the places I'll go.