The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. - W.M. Lewis
When you're young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun. Whether it's staying over at a friend's house, or getting asked to prom, it's all about the search for a fun time, a time to make memories! Then you grow up, and life becomes more about being cautious. You could break a bone, or even worse, a heart. Somehow it starts to be more about paying bills, achieving what the world labels as "success" and about taking care of our "responsibilities". We're taught to weigh all of the factors, look before we leap and sometimes we don't even leap at all because we're worried there might not be anyone there to catch us.
There are all kinds of fears that can prevent us from making the leap. They are different for each one of us, but surprisingly, they are probably closer to each others than even we might think. Haven't you ever worried about all the what if's? You know.. What if
___insert your choice of worry here__
I disappoint someone I love, or worse, I disappoint myself
I can't do it
I'm too old
I'm not qualified
I'm not skilled enough
I get hurt
people make fun of me / laugh at me
my goals are silly
It's too late
I can't even get past the first step
You know exactly what I'm talking about. Each of us shares these same fears, these same issues that keep us from achieving all we are capable of in this life.
It reminds me of my senior year's Penn State's cross-country shirt. Each year we picked a shirt "theme" and it was very personal to each of the members and combined all of our individual goals into one saying. It was always a struggle to choose. Each year, after all the debate, we would arrive at a our theme, victorious as one unified whole... ready to take on the season ahead.
My senior year the shirt theme was "It's Time." When I started we were a band of misfits, pulled together as everything from walk-on athletes to those recovering from long standing injuries. We didn't have any chance of doing anything in the Big Ten, but as the years went on we bonded together. Over time we became strong and finally were becoming a team to be reckoned with when we toed the line. It was our season, our time to finally shine, our decision to put it out there.. it had been a long time coming...but "our time" was finally here.
What allowed us to finally put that on the shirt was the same thing that allowed us to overcome all of the "What if's" listed above. We had been through trials and tribulations, injury, family issues, and even coming in dead last to finally becoming the team we were today, standing tall and together. Alone, we were nothing... but together, we were unstoppable. It gave us confidence and when any one person had doubts, we quickly erased them from each others minds with encouraging words and affirmations of our strength and ability not to let each other fall.
The sum was always stronger than the parts. Though it wasn't the season we'd hoped for in the end, I never regretted learning the valuable lessons I had come to see come to fruition in college.
Triathlon is a very individual sport in some ways and in other ways, that couldn't be farther from the truth. It takes a village to raise an Ironman, and I truly believe that. I don't know if you met my family, my group of friends and extended friends, my fellow bloggers.. but let me tell you..
I couldn't do this alone if I tried (and I'm pretty sure 100% of YOU would say the exact same thing).
We all have those fears, me included, but when I go to take the leap I always know they will be there, my safety net, to catch me should I start to fall.
That's where the freedom comes in.. to overcome those fears and to stand up against them. The goal is to not let them paralyze you, but instead to take control of each one and ward it off with the reason why it won't be the thing that stops you. When you do this successfully, you in turn teach yourself and will yourself to make the commitment to stand up once again and take the leap (whatever leap you want).
With that said, I'm ready to make the leap again. It's Time my friends. Do I feel 100% ready, well, not necessarily...but that doesn't change the fact that I'm going to do it anyway. Do I have fears...heck YEAH! Having fears is a given, but I have huge support system and that makes me ready to combat them and do it anyway.
In 2012 I will be competing as a professional triathlete. There I said it!!
I'm not doing it for the money, obviously :) Ha. Gosh knows there isn't much of that in the sport! I've taken a long time to look at my reasons and they have come back the same time and time again. I don't want to have any regrets about my life, so I've given this little adventure some rules of my own so that I can keep my perspective. I've talked to many other professionals in our sport who are not only realistic about why they do it, but that have been willing to offer advice and help every step of the way. There is no better time than the present, and the present is right now baby!
I have some big questions of my own next year. Can I finally learn to swim (#1), Can I figure out a way to bike closer to 5:10-5:15 for 112 miles? (#2), Can I run faster than 3:17 off the bike in an Ironman (#3)? So, here's to 2012 and seeing what is possible! Life is about so many things for me including helping others, having so much fun and seeing just where this next part of my journey will take me.
Thank you to my family, friends, fellow bloggers & tri friends, sponsors and of course, to Kyle,
my number one supporter and the one who is there for me in thick and thin.. You all have been with me every step of the way so far, and I know I'll need a lot more of that great support over the next year!! I love you all and I appreciate everything you do for me!!
Cheers to taking the leap in 2012!!