I have a confession to make.
It's about my behavior during the Olympics.
No, I didn't use PEDs or urinate on anything. And I didn't get all angry and bitter when a certain athlete didn't perform as I hoped or when I thought judging was a little too subjective. In fact, I'm a pretty great Olympic viewer. I watch a LOT of events, not just the popular ones. I root root root for the home team AND I love a good underdog story. I cry at the National Anthem - anyone's National Anthem. I cheer like a madwoman at the TV and I become an instant expert on sports I've never heard of. "Get your head down!" "PULL PULL!" "Steady this time, steady steaaaaaady... see his form? Not good. YOU'LL GET 'EM NEXT TIME, YOU!"
My confession comes about one specific evening when our whole household - dogs included - were watching the qualifying heats of some track event. In every heat there would be one or two athletes who didn't come close to qualifying. At the gun, they drifted so far behind they didn't even get television coverage. Athletes who would cross the finish long after the qualifiers finished and sometimes even well after we went to commercial. Keep in mind, these were the qualifying heats. Which often lead to semi-finals, then finals. These athletes weren't even getting past the first round. They came to Brazil to not even get past the first round.
So (and here's my confession) as I was watching, I called over my shoulder to Steve and I said, "Why do those people back there in the back even bother? I mean, what's the point? It's so much energy and it costs so much to travel there and be there and they don't even have a chance. They KNOW they don't have a chance. There is NO CHANCE of them even coming close to winning. Why do they show up at all?"
It's like I'd lost my mind or something. When I finally looked over at Steve, he was looking at me like I was speaking Portuguese. Or maybe was I joking? Or maybe I really did lose my mind. His face was all squinted up and his mouth was open with his lip sorta half curled in a perfectly perfect non-verbal "are you really saying that?" expression.
It jolted me.
Me, who knows better.
Me, who is the QUEEN of the back of the pack.
Me, who JUST WROTE an email about choosing hard things.
Me. I said that.
As if there is no glory in getting there. Forget the fact that any one of those bozos could run circles around me - literally. Forget the fact they really are the best in the world. Forget that IT'S THE OLYMPICS and they EARNED their right to be there. Why the heck wouldn't they go?
I know better. I really do.
I started running when I turned 40 and I was immediately bad at it. Like, right away. And I've maintained my success at being bad at it. I've been running now for 7 years. I still suck eggs. But I keep doing it. Not because I'm good at it and not because I'm getting better but because what would it say about me if I didn't?
It's good to be bad at something.
It's good to embrace the "so what?" every now and then.
It's good to come in last.
Don't let the world out there fool you. Don't let your family history or your internal dialogue or twisted interpretation of what you think you are supposed to be trick you into caring too much about how you perform. Gold, silver, bronze, participation ribbon, or nothing at all, you are still you.
And you're pretty awesome.
Hi! I've got something on my mind.
It's pretty straight forward and pretty un-exciting. But it's truth. And, if you are like me, you need a little truth on this Tuesday.
Here it is:
Getting better is hard work. That's it. That's your truth of the day.
Having conversations you don't want to have = hard.
Physically changing your body so that it is healthier and stronger and more of what you want it to be = hard.
Finally sitting down and doing a budget = hard.
Sticking to that budget = HARD!
Facing the fact that you get defensive too often and for too many things = hard.
Realizing you've been playing the victim card and you need to stop that nonsense right now = hard.
Quitting a job (or a relationship or a habit) that's not right for you without any other reason than "it's not good for me" = hard.
Hard. Hard. Hard.
But! Here's another equally important truth.
Hard things are not impossible things! Hard things are just that - hard. And they don't stay hard, not always. Sometimes hard things get easier. Sometimes they don't. But that doesn't mean you aren't supposed to do them. Since when do you judge what you are supposed to do on how easy it is? Never is the answer.
I truly believe we are at our best when we are doing hard things. I believe we are the closest to our best self when we are pushing and working and reaching. Not when we are stagnant and lazy and complacent. YUCK! I can't stand that person! And yet, most of us wait around and let hard things find us. We don't do hard things unless we are FORCED to do hard things. And some of us have had to do some really, really hard things:
Face down a terminal disease
Rebound after a long and difficult illness
Try (and try and try) to recover and rebuild after a devastating loss
<insert your really hard thing here>
Those things were harder than we ever imagined. But we did it. Somehow we pushed and struggled and called on outside help and somehow, someway we did it. And, at least in my case, I know we were better for it.
So, how about this time instead of waiting around for the hard to choose you, how about you choose the hard? How about you go ahead and do that hard thing you've been avoiding. Make the call. Swallow your pride. Put down the doughnut. Sign the papers. Get on the treadmill. Get over yourself. Say you're sorry. Embrace the change. Not because life is forcing you, but because the better version of you is waiting on the other side.
Choose the hard.
I believe in you.