Oh, the Places You'll Go (Redeux)

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

 
One thing I've blogged about in the past is the expense of being a triathlete or marathoner. I suppose that's not an issue if you have a sizable income or aren't trying to live on cash, but if you don't have either one of those things going for you, it ain't cheap. 
 
Money money money
Must be funny
It's a rich man's world
-Abba
 
Since racing and training are the two things that help me feel - well - alive, I do whatever I can to include them in my life.  After the bills are paid and the cats are medicated and so on, whatever $5 I find lying around goes to Race Stuff. 
 
So during discussions with my running friends, I often have to admit that I can't afford a new GPS watch, nomatterhowmuchbetteritisthantheoldone.  I feel happy just to own a used one at all.  I don't tell them sometimes that I try so hard to PR at every distance race becausethat'stheonlyracethatdistanceIcanaffordtorunthisyear.  I feel happy to be able to race that one, considering I was still able to pay bills and afford a $10 t-shirt from time to time.
 
My non-running friends jet off for 10-day vacations to glamorous places like the Hamptons, wine country, Stockholm (ok, some of those trips were financed in part by employers, but I'd be screw-diddly-ewed trying to shell out expense money and wait for a reimbursement check. Sveeden is not cheap.)

Yes, sometimes that makes me feel a little left out, isolated, even jealous.  Yes, I want to go too.  I have a BAD case of Iwannahaveitall.  (Take that, FearofMissingOut.) But since I talk about this from time to time, let me make this impeccably clear: I AM NOT COMPLAINING, WHINING, POOR-MOUTHING, WOE-IS-MEING, or whatever else you want to call it.  I'm just telling it like it is.
 
The reality is, I really like my life.

One of my friends once told me she wondered if my optimism was real or just some fake-it-till-you-make-it type shit.  My response to her was honey, once you've MADE it, it IS real.

I stepped back and looked at one of my old blog entries today, I can't even explain how pleased I am. I could say almost all the same things today that I said in that entry a few years back.
 
I realized that I have continued to handle more work, social, and workout challenges than I ever imagined, topped with oodles and oodles of bad news about the pet and people family, and I have managed to stay afloat.  I have friends and family who have helped support my racing and training because they know how much it means to me.
 
But more than that: even in the midst of all the shit, I'm truly happy.  I have those curl-up-in-a-ball-and-cry-your-tits-off days from time to time. I wish I hadn't said certain things and I catch myself being kind of petty. But I am, by and large, VERY happy.  I have really embraced the idea that things can be both very good and very bad at the same time.
 
I still can't believe I've done it.  
 
I'm not bragging, I'm seriously amazed with myself.  Whether that means I had a lot of self-doubt before, or that the shit just really went down - I don't care.
 
Just like then, 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. And I know now that, even among those few moments of doubt and regret, I am the guy who decides where I go.

And oh, the places I'll go.

Just like then, I believe that being satisfied 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 it made me realize I'm in exactly the right place.

And I still 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. When it all boils down, I don't care if my shit is 10 years old. I don't care if I only get to do one marathon a year.  The fact is, I got to do one at all.

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.

2 tidbits of wizdom:

Alili said...

A-freaking-men.

Molly said...

I love this all!!!! <3

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