Today is November 11, which means it's the 11th day of IMOF!
The International Month of Fabulousness (IMOF) began for two reasons:
1. Two close friends both have birthdays this weekend and mine is the last weekend, so we always end up having a shindig every weekend of the month. We decided we just as well keep that up. Almost 10 years later, here we are.
2. My birthday always gets lumped in with Christmas and Thanksgiving. Sometimes I call it Chrisbirthgiving. Or Thanksbirthmas.
It's also the time of year where I start planning my off-season and next year's training, but that is a topic for later in the month.
My favorite thing about this time of year is to watch everyone reflecting on what they're thankful for, since Thankyougiving is right around the corner. This year I am more thankful than ever about everything I have. Sometimes - and this sounds silly - when I'm getting ready for work or driving to work in the morning, I hang onto my steering wheel and feel thankful for my car. I open the lid on a jewelry box and feel thankful for that necklace or pair of earrings. I put on that pair of shoes and be happy that I have a choice of them.
So here is one of the – possibly thousands of – things I am most grateful for: the people in my life.
I have always struggled with other people's opinions of me. I am never sure what to censor, so I feel like I'm constantly holding back. When I finally find people that I feel I can tell anything - unedited, unfiltered, uncensored - I feel like I'm released from a lifetime of shackles. I try not to word-vom all over them, but sometimes it happens. I have to remind myself not everyone wants to have a stream-of-consciousness, philosophical conversation about your inner thoughts every day, or even every week or month.
And I tend to hang onto people long past the natural evolution of a friendship, or after years of being diminished or guilt-tripped or pissed off, because I feel so happy to have found that person I can be ME with. I will stick up for someone, even if they do something really crappy. I believe in second chances. And third. And fourth. I have given someone "chances" for double-digits' worth of years. And since I am even bothered when someone I don't know (or care to know) has a bad opinion of me – well, then when someone who really knows me decides to form a certain opinion about me, it cuts me to the bone. I have learned in both my blog and my real life to pull back on the sharing a little, but it is hard to break yourself of natural habits.
I think this is why the handful of close friends I have are so important to me. They know all my ugly. They know all my good and bad. I am so happy to have people in my life who always make me feel included and “heard.” Who support me when things matter to me. I mentioned that the people around me made it possible for me to go to New York after everything fell apart this year. That is not something I take for granted. Not even for a second.
Having good people around doesn’t mean that those people always agree with everything you do, either. Sometimes good people challenge you to be better, think before speaking, or consider a new viewpoint. But "challenging" someone and bullying them are different; publicly chastising someone and privately advising them are also different. You need someone to ask you the hard questions from time to time; you don't need someone to challenge your right to feel a certain way every time you share your feelings.
Anyway, I think you get the point here. I am surrounded by amazing people.
So, now that I'm not formally "training", there's the other thing I have spent a lot of time thinking about. And that is PR's. (Not this PR's.)
Let me just put this out there: there is not a damn thing wrong with wanting, working for, or earning a PR. And there is not a damn thing wrong with not wanting, not working for, and not achieving one, either.
Some people are motivated by doing their best. Others are just along for the ride. There is nothing wrong with either viewpoint. I think what is important is not to get hung up on it - either way. Can you talk about your goals (or lack thereof, it that's your thing)? Absolutely. I believe speaking your goals into life motivates you to attain them. I can tell you, as an industrial psychologist, that goals are important as long as they are specific, challenging, and attainable.
But, when all is said and done, when the race is over and the dust settles, and that PR didn't come, or it wasn't as big as you wanted, well, then it's time to let it go. It's ok to be a little pissed for a couple hours, or even a couple days - as long as you remember that very few of us are actually doing this for a paycheck. (In fact, most of us are paying to do it.) So that's why I like to say I train to do my best, but race to enjoy the experience.
The reality is: just like in Real Life, no matter how fast you are, good you are, strong you are, there will always be days when someone beats you. Sometimes that person will even be you.
I like to work towards a PR. It pushes me to be my best. But not every day is a good day. And not every race is a PR race. Sometimes - as training, racing, and living chronically ill will teach you - you need to be happy you just showed up. That doesn't give you the right to phone it in - it just means sometimes your best is a little different effort. Sometimes doing your best at something means just having a good time. And that, in and of itself, is also a personal record.