It seems like a lifetime ago, but just a year or so back, I was a triathlete. My life was all about PRs and pacing and chafing and AA and stride counting and big toenails falling off. It was early mornings and Clif bars and electrolyte pills and easy laces and aerobars. I wanted to get my Psych degree in Sports Psych instead of I/O, I wanted to lose all my body fat and become a triathlon coach, I wanted to do Iron-distance races, and I wanted to inspire people.
In short, I loved to race, but I let it consume me.
The problem is, I was battling about 5 physical health conditions and 3 mental health conditions. Further, my now-sensitive GI system was rebelling against the mounting stress of the rest of my life. Eventually, instead of being an inspiration because I was juggling work, school, drama, relationships, a social life and all my health problems AND STILL getting into Nationals and winning an Athena award, I was a basketcase. It took me almost 6 months to realize I couldn't possibly make half my workouts, which meant I couldn't possibly finish (or finish well) in races. Truth be told, the pressure of training and racing was a pressure I didn't need.
I am, and always have been, in search of supreme balance. Maybe this is because I've tried every extreme there is: vegan, yoga-and-organic-food-nut, Iron-distance triathlete, super-student, party animal, multiple-animal-parent - and none of them has brought me peace or satisfaction. For example: right now, I'm in the middle of a lot of financial changes, relationship changes, work and school stress, but I'm trying to learn to spread it all ou. The old me would have done it all at once and then complained about how much better I could have done. The new me is taking steps to make it all work together. (To whit, I was taking the GRE on 8/22; now in September. I did my first race in 6 months on Saturday. It was just a 5k, but it was a start.)
My time was also supremely shitty. But, for the first time in my racing life, all I cared about was how fun it was.
You see, I've finally realized that it's ok not to really fit in anywhere. Because I'm really, truly, way too bored with being just one thing really well. I'd rather do a few things and enjoy the richness and variety they bring to my life. And that means balance. A little wine, a little coffee, a little triathlon, a little TV, a little time with the boyfriend, a little work, a little school.
I think you get the picture.
I'm back to eating a few lunches at home a week, packing my vitamins and saying "no" to things I can't handle. To you, this may seem ridiculously simplistic. Pedanticly obvious. But it's what will keep me afloat.