It’s been several years now (like 20 years) since I’ve wanted to be able to say: “Hello, my name is P and I’m a triathlete.” I’ve signed up for many races, only to pick up the t-shirt on registration day, yet not participate because I didn’t ever train for it.
About seven years ago, over a two-year period, I did two sprint triathlons (1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run) and then an Olympic distance one (about 1 mile swim, 24 mile bike and 6 mile run). The Olympic distance one was extremely difficult, especially because my training was pretty much non-existent. Nonetheless, for each race, I loved the comradery among the participants (though most of us had never met each other), I loved the encouragement of the people on the sidelines, I loved the fanfare at the finish line, but mostly, I loved the true sense of accomplishment that stayed with me every time a wore the event T-shirt – it’s the “I did this” sense of accomplishment.
For me, it’s an entirely different sense of accomplishment than my work and career give me, regardless of what I accomplish on a professional level. For example, I recently took the Hawaii bar exam (16 years after passing the California bar), and, though passing it was a relief, it did not bring with it a very strong sense of accomplishment. I’m not sure why.
Could it be that those of us who have spent a lifetime attempting mostly mental and professional goals, take them for granted when achieved and simply move on to the next one? Are we so trained to achieve these types of goals that we fully expect it of ourselves and such achievements have become routine or mundane? Maybe.
If so, then, perhaps, despite achieving what many would consider professional success, we find ourselves with the feeling of a void in our lives. Don’t get me wrong, when I am in the moment, working hard at my profession, I do experience satisfaction and even joy. But, at the end of the day, I admit, I feel like the old saying “is that all there is?”
I am also fortunate to have a great family who I know will always be there for me and I enjoy my time with them.
But, I am thinking that there is some other part of me that craves a new challenge – something physical and measurable to achieve. If that is the case, then why do I not carve out just a little time each day to pursue it? Is it because I look too far into the future and say to myself – “To be a GOOD triathlete, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time training!” Do I sabotage myself by thinking “Oh, you can never spend the time it would take because you are too busy with work”? Or, is it simply a deep down fear that training will be hard at first, perhaps make me hurt, or that I won’t ever be “good” at it?
I’m not sure what negative thoughts or fears are holding me back at this point. So, I am going to try my best to embrace a message from the “Big Magic” book that I talked about in my last post, and pursue my dream without regard to what any one else thinks. So what if it turns out that I am not very “good” at it? All I know is that if I do not at least sincerely pursue this dream, it will be one of those things that I will live to regret not doing. Here’s to doing!