Now I see that the journey was never meant to lead to some new and improved version of me; that it has always been about coming home to who I already am. –Katrina Kenison
2017 was very much a year of recovery. In the few times I wrote in 2016, I struggled with feeling incredibly off balance. I stepped into 2017 hoping to recover some of that balance, to find myself again. I made strides in my business. I tried to regain the athlete I once was. But when October rolled around, I still felt less than whole and dove headfirst into old Facebook albums.
I’ve reflected on 2017 and felt slightly disappointed in the lack of progress I made, in feeling like I ended the year just as it began. I’m not sure we entirely know what we need even when we think we do. We wander blindly and might feel nudges towards one thing or another. We might suspect the direction we should take and try any number of routes only to find dead ends.
Sometimes I get frustrated with this constant circling back and wonder why I can’t be consistent, why I’ve been lost so many times. What I’ve found is that 2017 taught me there’s wisdom to be uncovered in my kind of compass-less travel. It’s easy to feel stuck when we look around and see that we’ve wandered and floated for so long. It’s easy to feel discouraged and almost abused by a lack of self-care and self-awareness. We can know intellectually that one small change can lead to another and another and become big changes as they ripple out, but those first steps back to ourselves can be terrifying. We sulk in fear and guilt and shame.
The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.
― Brené Brown
2018 is about showing up and re-learning how to thrive.
What began as a potentially emotionally dangerous delve into nostalgia in the fall has rippled into something incredibly positive and productive. That plummet was a powerful compass check and redirection: an about face right back to who I know I am and who I know I need to be.
When I saw that picture of the girl I once was, I immediately knew what I needed to rebuild my courage, to rebuild myself. A hesitantly sent email to my former triathlon coach in hopes that she would still coach me was all it took. A meeting and reunion lunch a week later, and I was back in my happy place. I was back on the path that has saved me again and again. I was careful not to jump in too quickly; I’ve learned to be very aware of my impulse to make a change just for the thrill of making a change. I’m too familiar with the thrill of signing up for big and scary races yet not being ready to commit to the actual process of training for a big and scary race. Training for triathlons has always provided so much; it has been life-saving and life-creating, and I wanted this return to triathlon to be for the right reasons- not to prove myself to anyone and not to patch a hole in my heart. We began training carefully and intentionally with the goal of a spring sprint and a summer olympic and beyond that, we’d just see what will happen. After two months of consistent, happy training and feeling more like myself than I have in years, I felt ready to commit to a big, scary goal. Ironman 70.3 Ohio is now officially on the calendar for July.
Bringing this blog back to what it always was, separating my business writing from my personal writing, my business life from my personal life established the breathing room to write rambling posts like this. Posts that are a little clunky and feel rusty to write after nearly three years of not much practice, posts that provide clarity and direction and lay the groundwork for an intentional life to begin again.
Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake. —Francis Bacon, Sr.
I’m so grateful for this journey, this noodling and indirect path I always take towards and away from myself again and again. With each compass check, with each reset, I’ve understood what’s worth holding onto, what I need to allow to fall away, and the responsibility I have to myself. I’ve learned so very much about trusting, living intentionally, and crafting a well-lived life.