Well, hopefully you get more than a t-shirt from my blog. I hope something I've written has made you chuckle, think, or has been inspiring in some way. I've certainly picked up a lot of wisdom from reading all your blogs, and I hope I've been successful in contributing to the blogger world in some way, shape or form.
Here is the link to my first ever post on 10/18/09. I've just re-read it for the first time in awhile. It was interesting to revisit, but I also felt a little embarrassed as well. It was the kind of embarrassment you feel when you look at (or when you someday look at) your high school yearbook 20 years after you graduated. Last October was only 8 months ago. But by every other measure, last October was a lifetime ago.
I understand why I wrote what I wrote. But I definitely had my guard up, and lingering between each sentence is fear and anxiety. I tend to jump into things before I actually understand why. Starting this blog last year is an example of that. I knew I needed to document what I was doing, though I wasn't sure why I was and where it would lead. But it was leading somewhere, and I might as well embrace it. That's why I started typing.
I think the below passage is the most telling.
Endurance sports are perfect for me. I've never had those fast twitch muscles needed to play baseball or football. But, I've always been able to go and go. The mental game. The discomfort. The solitude. Before my wife introduced me to the Hawaiian vacation, my idea of a week off was a solo back-packing trip around Mt. Rainier.Yep, that's me admitting a mid life crisis. Over the previous year and a half, I had been taking steps in getting my health and physical confidence back. But I was still concerned about it all, and I was worried that I couldn't keep it up. I was anxious about "cold toes" and "heartburn" being more than just the exception. And I was afraid of what would happen if those things became the rule. I knew I needed to get back to where I came from, at least in certain ways. Getting caught up in my career (and related trappings) to the extent that I did and at the expense of who I really was had changed me in a way in a way I didn't like. It just took a long time to figure it out.
Because when I was younger, I didn't worry about falling off a cliff. Snowstorm and no climbing partner? No problem!! That was the stupidity of my youth. But this last March, cold toes and heartburn kept me from a summit in the Sierra Nevada. It was a clear day and about as safe as a winter alpine climb could possibly be. But I got in a staring contest mortality and blinked first. The cold and my discomfort where convenient excuses. That's the stupidity of middle age.
I sense shame in the post as well. I kept talking about "my story", and that the story may "eventually come out". The truth is, I had to get something off my chest, but had no idea how to do it. Though it was possibly naive to think that the answer was hidden in the hundreds of hours of training I was hoping to do, over time those hours did help me realize that I already had the answer. And it was simple - tell the truth. Just admit that until 18 months ago you where drinking too much, had let yourself go, and had (pardon my French) fucked up a whole bunch of things in your life that didn't need to be fucked up. Further, just admit that you are 40, there is nothing you can do about it, and that right now might be a good time to get off your ass and re-prioritize some things in your life. Because God willing, you still have got plenty of time to live. And while you are living, you can love and learn and experience anything you want. Once you get it out, you'll feel a million times better. There will be no more shame. In fact, most will recognize that the progress you made in those 18 months was anything but shameful.
I'd like to think I've come a long way in the last 8 months/99 posts. When I started, I knew the writing would be cathartic. Some days I'd write something worth reading, some days I wouldn't. But in the end I think I managed to get a few things out in the open.
But what I didn't realize 8 months ago was that the reading of other blogs would be just as important.
As I read your blogs, I realize how lucky we are. Sure, we've all got problems, tragedy even. But I'd like to think that we have all found ways to manage and cope with our lives in (I dare say) a "higher than average" positive manner. I'm not sure exactly why this is, but clearly we all have something in common. Whether its triathlon, marathon, trail running, or whatever endurance sport we are constantly gushing about, it is clear that our participation in these sports is a big part of our overall lives. And in every case the benefits of these sports go far beyond the act of just participating.
This is a gift we should cherish as long as we can.
So thank you all for reading this post, and for all the other posts you've read. Thanks for the comments to my posts. And thanks for letting me be a part of your world by sharing your lives too.