Thursday, July 20, 2017

Walking the Wire

Life.  It's such a  balancing act, isn't it? Imagine Dragons said it best.

 I remember being sixteen years old, when life stood before me, unabashedly making plans for how I was going to take over the world.  Mind you, in my naive teenage mind, that consisted of besting my parents, getting my own way, telling my teachers to take a number, and doing what I wanted to.  Finally.

Eighteen years later, I realize that this whole "adulting" thing has larger ramifications than choosing to eat pop tarts and diet coke for breakfast (which are delicious, but you pay for it later).  And so it goes.  All of those wonderful things that were going to be mine for the taking...they have consequences.  And not exactly in the way I had thought it might.

For those wonderful friends that have followed me with any sense of regularity (what's that Rae, you never blog), you know I've been struggling lately.  Which, to be frank, has baffled me.  When I look back at my sixteen year old self, I see a teenager that took life by the horns.  That didn't give a shit what anyone thought.  That loved a boy with all her heart (even if he didn't know who she was).  Who had the best gang of six buddies who not only totally got her, but would beat the shit out of any guy that messed with her (all my "older brothers", if you will).  Who knew who she was, without reservation.

Who also dreamed of big things.  A great career, a beautiful family, two kids, a white picket fence, a funny, handsome and loving husband.  And undoubtedly a famous thespian or dancer.

Things change.  But not too much.  As I hit my mid thirties, I realize that I have everything I want right now, swapping out marathon for dance, triathlon for theatre.  I have such beautiful kids.  And my husband is undoubtedly the most perfect man for me.  I have a great career. A wonderful family.  Friends. And a basement full of Age Group medals that confirm that I am an athletic success - healthy, happy, and successful.  Everything but that picket fence.

So what's wrong?  Why am I mechanically attending to things?  Checking it off my list?  Missing the passion that I know my teenage self would be horrified to find missing?  I wanted to find out.  With the last few months a hectic and frustrating mish mosh of increasing stress at work, holding down the fort while Greg worked two jobs, and some health issues that are probably due to the first two, I have found myself becoming more and more annoyed with everything around me.  I am not a happy person to be around.  I've dusted off my resume and considered strongly the possibility of leaving a job I've loved for the last ten years.  I've even sat down and reconsidered base things that I am passionate about that don't seem to be so amazing any more.

With that, I knew I needed a reset.  I took the week off from work, and have re-connected.  With my kids.  With my husband.  And mostly, with myself.  Through some long, forgiving runs, a few naps, a pedicure, and even (gasp) retail therapy (yes, I went shopping for things other than running shoes.  If nothing else shocks you in this post, this should).  And I have thought.  And thought.  And thought some more.

And I've realized quite a bit.  Put simply, I've managed to let other people affect me way too much lately.  Energy vampires, if you will.  And I'm disgusted with myself for it.  I've listened when people criticize the way I parent. The way I work. The way I eat. The way I run.  The way I write.  And, no, I am not kidding, the way I send emails.  What in the actual eff is that all about?  I know.  I've sat there and taken a bunch of crap from people that are 100% pot calling the kettle black, and I've stewed in my own juices about it until I have emerged a bitter, resentful person.  Who not only took in their unnecessary, and not helpful words, but allowed them to define me.  And that's just sad.

When I was a kid, the famous phrase quite a few authority figures used on me was "Do as I say, not as I do".  Which we all know is just a shitty way to let an adult explain away bad behavior without feeling any of the consequences because, ya know, adulting, man.  When I became a parent and a boss, I swore I would never project that image to anyone that answered to me.  It creates an environment that fosters forced discipline, but never will foster respect or a good relationship.  Ever.

I managed to walk away from those "do as I say"  people for so long.  And now I find myself seeing it almost on a daily basis, either at work or in certain social circles.  And, much like a kid going through adolescence, it's set me back into a world of uncertainty, of faint dissatisfaction that festers, and lingers.

It's easy to point a finger.  To place the blame on someone else.  To let their insecurities and bad nature leech onto you and define you.  But I'm done with that.

The way I have been has  Full of defined, easy actions that have been set forth by society and deemed appropriate.  Pay your bills.  Put in your forty hours. Do the laundry. Give the kids a bath.  Run for exactly the 60 minutes to fulfill your "10,000 steps".  Yada yada yada.  They are also boring.  And my sixteen year old self shakes her head at me.  So does my twenty five year old self, who stared at Mirror Lake in 2010, the morning her her first ironman, 3000 people strong, facing 140.6 miles of uncertainty and....jumped in.

Know what happened in 2010?  I crashed.  Yep.  Crashed my bike at mile 42.6.  I cried for 2 minutes, stood up, took inventory of body and bike parts, and rode the last 80 miles of that course with a bent frame.  And then ran the 26.2 mile marathon dirt streaked and bloody.  And I fucking finished with a smile on my face, having taken my own world by storm.

Take risks.  Be alive.  Be uncomfortable. Just DO IT.

This is my new mantra.  (With some help from Nike).

So look out down below!

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