Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If I could rewrite the end of the story

Have you ever read a book that you thought was great...until you got to the end? And thought to yourself, why in the heck did the author write that ending? Nicholas Sparks's book, The Horse Whisperer, was like that for me. It was one of those fast, easy, enjoyable summertime reads. Then, I got to the end. It was horrible. So glad that Eric Roth and Robert Redford rewrote it for the movie.

There's so much freedom and power in being a writer, whether a novelist or screenplay writer. The story belongs to you. The ending is up to you. Being something of a control freak (I know that surprises so many of you), this appeals to me...immensely. 

But life is nothing like that. At all. We have no idea what the next chapter holds, much less how our own story will end. Given that I am something of a control freak, it makes me crazy. I am learning. I am getting better at accepting that I have no control and that's okay. In fact, it's the way it's supposed to be. 

And, right now, life is good. Great, really. I seriously have nothing to complain about. (Not that it stops me from whining now and again, but it's mostly gratuitous.) I have a really good job with the kind of flexibility I've always longed for. I am building my own business, slowly but surely. I have a plethora of incredible friends and a strong, supportive network surrounding me. I have my health. 

This has all come as I have stepped out not knowing where the heck I'm going. I still don't know.

I think it's called, "faith."

But, in the midst of all that, everyday, something nags me.

God help me...if Satan walked up to me and told me I could rewrite the end. That I could have Richard back, but I would have to be back in my old job (that I hated), living my old life (with no flexibility), I think I would probably sell my soul.

I feel so guilty. So wrong. So ungrateful and selfish.

And so, the story continues. Maybe, one day, I'll truly understand that I can't write, or rewrite, any part of it myself. 

I can only live it.

With faith and trust that the path is set, the story is good, and all I have to do is believe.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Introverted Athlete

Maybe a month or so ago, a Facebook friend posted a link and a note about a book he had recently read. The book was about introverts. Who they are, and how they function in a world made for extroverts. (I think it was, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.) 

I had never really given it much thought...whether I was an introvert or not. If I take personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs, I never trust my answers. Am I answering completely honestly or am I answering like the person I wish I was? But that Facebook post intrigued me. So, I did a quick online search and found this Huffington Post article: 23 Signs You're Secretly an Introvert

Holy cow!

The article may not be exactly "scientific," but it describes me nearly perfectly.
"People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts -– especially if they’re not shy -- because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they're losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure."
I don't consider myself shy. I think that people who don't know me do consider me aloof, but usually I'm fine with approaching others, talking to people, socializing (a bit). I love my family and friends. I enjoy meeting and getting to know new people. But, in the end, people wear me out.

It explains so much. Why I loved working from home for so many years, and why when I did work in an office setting, my coworkers often didn't even know I was there. And it's not that I'm claustrophobic; it's that I need to know I can get "out" if I need to. I am horrible about the phone. I don't answer it, and I don't call friends or even family very often. (I would much rather text.) 

"Most introverts need to think first and talk later." Please don't ask me what I'm thinking and expect an articulate answer. Not happening.

"You're a writer." 


"Many introverted children come to believe there is something 'wrong' with them."

And therein lies the rub. For nigh these 50 years, I have thought that I needed to change my personality. That how I am is, somehow, wrong and not socially acceptable. 

(I am a little concerned that the American Psychiatric Association has considered classifying the introverted personality a disorder, however...)

Despite it, though, I am and have been pretty successful. I had a strong and enduring marriage...better than most people I know. I managed to establish a successful and lucrative "first" career. My "second" career seems to be gaining some legs, and I am finding a good amount of satisfaction in what I'm doing. 

I cried a little when I read this article.

No longer will I apologize for who I am and how I am. 

What you see is what you get. And if you give me the room and the time, I think you might find I'm not such a bad person after all.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ironman Lake Placid: The Race that Wasn't

Not that I didn't do Ironman Lake Placid. I did. I most certainly did. I was out there for almost 15 hours. But it just wasn't all that. I didn't get that rush of awesomeness in the process of doing an Ironman, like I did in 2008 at Ironman Florida. Nor did I feel elated as I crossed the finish line and heard my name from Iron Mike.

I was just glad it was finally over.

It seems as if something as significant as an Ironman should be...well...significant. 

Now, nearly 6 months later, except for a brief period in the immediate aftermath of the race, I have continued to struggle with the whole idea of training and racing. It doesn't appeal to me. I'm not motivated. I gave myself a break from being an athlete while I was on vacation in November, hoping I would come back rejuvenated and ready to run again.

But that didn't happen, and most days I dread swimming, biking, or running. I have a great coach who knows exactly how I'm feeling and has minimized my workouts for now and encourages me to just stick with it. She assures me I will find mo and jo again soon.

In the meantime, someone suggested to me that I didn't really need to be that athlete. That I could stop seriously training and just focus on being a mentor and a coach.

But he's wrong. I can't do that.

God has given me a certain set of talents. Among other things, I have a good amount of mental and physical stamina. But I am not a star athlete. I was never the best. I don't have the credentials to be a Bill Bowerman or even a Debi Bernardes. My credibility comes from my doing. The folks I have the good fortune to work with put their trust in me precisely because I am not special or elite...I am just like them (with perhaps a little extra fortitude). And if I can do it, and they can see me do it, run with me, ride with me, swim with me, then they believe they can do it too.

Last Sunday's lesson at church was about generosity. God wants us to be generous in every way...with our money, with our time, and with our talents. If I stop being "that" athlete, I am being stingy with what little talent I do have. I am foregoing the opportunity to share not just a capability but also a belief in self, a sense of achievement, and feelings of self worth…

So, I slog through the workouts, rehab the nagging injuries, coach, train, encourage. 

Yesterday, a large group of runners from our Fleet Feet training group completed the Mississippi Blues Half or full Marathons. I stood just before mile markers 12/25, wearing a goofy pink wig, my "coach" shirt, cheering, high-fiveing, hugging. The smiles, the tears, the grimaces, the "whoop, whoops"…they all make it worth it. They all let me know I'm doing good things…that despite my doubts and misgivings, what I have to offer is meaningful to them. 

And it doesn't matter that IMLP wasn't "my" race.  

My abilities to run, swim, and bike don't belong to me. They belong to them.

"Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." 1 Corinthians 4:2