I’ve talked about this before, probably many times. I don’t see myself as a goal setter. In reality, I am. But not the kind of goal setter I think of when people ask are you a goal setter? I don’t have a 5 year or a 10 year plan. I’m a planner. Don’t get me wrong, my friends will attest to my Olympic Gold Medal winning planning abilities. I don’t see that as goal setting. I think of goals, as- I have this many widgets to get through this week (widgets= white papers, reports, actual widgets etc). So how do I chunk that- how do I get through X widgets in a week and meet that goal.
I set goals for races- I want to finish this race faster than the last one, or this course is hillier than the last one, so I only want to be 3 minutes slower. I also think that my propensity to be a planner can, at times, keep me from 'living in the moment' and enjoying it before I move on to the next thing.
Yet, every year I take on the New Years Resolution challenge many of us chose to present ourselves. I learned years ago not to turn this into a- I’m going to exercise every day or I’m giving up chocolate- as a Catholic- I can do the give up thing for Lent- 40 days is one thing.. a whole year.. heck no!
I am also the type of person who can easily fall prey to helping other people achieve their goals. This year, I think, was the first year I realized that I had inadvertently made my goals what someone else’s were. I am one to help out and be a cheer leader- but I realized my goals needed to be my goals, not tag along goals to help someone else. I needed to define my own goals.
Okay, let’s step back a second.. I know that it isn’t December 31st (although at this moment temperatures in the 30s sounds lovely!), and I’m not looking back on a year of how did I do? It is just past the middle of the year and I am taking an assessment.
So back to the News Years Resolutions. I came up with 3 tangibles, 3 items that I could check off a list- what they are isn’t really important, what I realized about the goals I had chosen is important… what I realized about those 3 items was that in some way there was something about them that scared me.. they were a stretch for me because they were scary. It was in that moment that I realized my goal for 2013 would be to do as many things as possible outside of my comfort zone.
Somewhere in March, I think it was, I started to feel like this year held epic possibilities for me.. that stretching outside my comfort zone, doing things even when my feet were sweaty and my hands were clammy was laying out epic moments for me.
So to recap 2013 so far...
I ran a race I swore I would never run because it is in the middle of winter in Maine, it is 10 miles and is hilly. And did I say outside, in Maine in February?!?
I ran a 10k course that I have been afraid to run for 3 years because it is trail and it is hilly. I ran this trail race after days of rain, while it torrential down poured. At one point, my shoe got stuck in the mud and only my foot came back up.
I said no. Saying no is hard for me. (See taking on other people's goals above). I can so easily overbook myself with too many 'things' I feel obligated to do out of fear that I will disappoint someone, with little regard for what all the commitments mean to my life and my schedule. I can think of 3 times that I said, no, I can't do that, I don't want to do that. Each time was hard, but the freedom I felt when I was done was enough of a carrot that I will become less and less afraid of saying no.
I ran my first obstacle course race.
I fell in love. I had my heart broken. And for the first time, I didn’t doubt myself, I didn’t doubt my love (or his), I was sad, very sad, but I didn’t think of all the things I must have done wrong to end it. I sat uncomfortably in my sadness for awhile and took a deep breath.
I went on a trip with my daughter and my Mom to a place I have always wanted to visit. I touched water melting from a glacier; I touched ice from a glacier. I remembered in my heart why I loved my chosen major, why I loved geomorphology classes and why I could talk to you for hours about adiabatic heating and cooling.
I stood and looked in the mirror at my naked body, at my stretch marks, and my saggy breasts, at my muscles and at the sexy dents in my shoulders, and I thought how hard I have worked to have this saggy skin that no longer covers fat, to have the muscles that can run miles, and break boards and carry me through my day.
I ran 100 miles in a month. On day 15.. the remaining 50 miles seemed like 1000, and the 2nd to last day was one of the worst runs of my running life... and the last 3 miles were quiet and fast and perfect.
I ran a half marathon in sun that was unrelenting and heat that felt like it was 100 degrees. I ran a half marathon in wind gusts that topped 50 mph.
I ran at sea. I ran 18 miles at sea on a boat, 9 stories above the water. I watched the sunrise over the Alaska mountains while I ran.
I have some other plans (funny there is that plan vs. goal thing) in store for the next few months. Not sure if I will get to all 3 of my original goals for this year, I am enjoying just being epic in my own moments… Can’t say I will ever learn to not be a planner.. but I think I am slowly learning how to find those moments of epicness and enjoy them.
Here is to being epic-ly awesome.