Lost.....for a guy that thinks he has it pretty together, how can one feel lost? I set a personal fitness goal like an Ironman and I do it. I sign up, I show up and I do it. Pretty simple. I throw my hat into the ring of the unknown and have been extremely fortunate to have always come out on top. When questioning if I was ready for the Ironman my Iron Buddy Hal simple stated to me, "you always succeed in what you do. It's always been that way. No way you aren't gonna finish, that's not who you are." I'm paraphrasing but that was this gist of what he said. It may not always be pretty but I succeed, I get it done. Some people, maybe most think finishing an Ironman is some incredible accomplishment but I think every and anyone can do it. It is just a simple race that anyone can enter. That's it. I didn't save any one's life or help shape someones life because of the race. I paid an entrance fee and completed the task. No more, no less. So what is next????
I don't really know. I recall after running my first marathon, sitting alone on the airplane and heading back to Colorado. I silently wept. A few tears just trickled out from my eyes. I hadn't a clue why. In the aftermath it makes sense to me. There is this depression that people experience after working hard for something, after putting in so much time, energy, nurturing, love and sacrifice and then it suddenly comes to an end. What's next? Similar to post pregnancy depression I would imagine. The registration, the training, the hours, the build up, the event then.......nothing. It is over. What's next? There is this void. This gap, this space that was continually filled and now it's empty. My first marathon was also a completion of a big circle for me. Jen owned a home in AZ, we had spent time together there and all that I knew about AZ was with and through her. This was the first time I had returned since after she ended our engagement. She was an elite marathon runner and this was my first marathon. We were to run around the world, competing in these types of events together. I ran the roads of the restaurants we dined in and passed the stores we shopped in. I looked a lot of demons in the eyes that weekend in the airport, in Scottsdale, at South Mountain and in all the cactus along the roads. I felt a lot of sadness and emptiness in my heart. But I paid that entrance fee and I completed the task and I ran my first marathon alone. I took advantage of the opportunity that was put in front of me to experience something wonderful and join the less than 1% club. Things like this just don't go away. You need to be present and acknowledge and live the life you are meant to live. You need to get up in the morning and look at that beautiful sunrise and experience what is next. So after completing an Ironman there certainly is this void and although there wasn't the added demons of an ex fiancee, I was/am still alone. Do not get me wrong, it is absolutely invaluable to have the support of friends and loved ones and coaches. With each mile you log in the pool, in the saddle and on the roads and when the goblins are catching you on the course and you sit in the airplane on that long ride home it is still yourself with just yourself. Your demons, your fears, your triumphs, your accomplishments, your blisters, and your struggle for what is next. This is one of the reasons Ironman races sell out in less than a day. All those racers desiring a what is next and needing something to fill the void.
After the race, I sat on the beach and watched several beautiful sunsets.
I filled my time creating race reports and answering many wonderful supportive texts and emails. I popped countless numbers of blisters on my feet and I played the race over in my mind a billion times on what I could have done differently. And I got on the plane and I prepared to head back home to Colorado and I remembered my time on the plane after AZ and how much happier I am now then I was then. But that same feeling of leaving the accomplishment behind and knowing I would go back to the real world with a void was still there. What's next? Why does there have to be a what's next?? Why do I do these things? What am I looking for? What am I searching for? Is there some magic out there? Some High? Some Passion? Larger than the question of what's next I am always curious as to how people don't ask what is next. And why do people just settle? Why do people become complacent? Why do they work in jobs that they can't stand and complain constantly? Why do they marry someone and then bitch about their spouse and think of it as something that is disposable and casually throw it away?
Why do we live like The Dave Mathews song Ants Marching....He wakes up in the morning Does his teeth bite to eat and he's rolling Never changes a thing The week ends the week begins.
Don't get me wrong I'm just like the next guy and get caught up in the day to day and just getting by mentality. I allow things to slide and forget the vision and lose sight of the passion. I get caught up in paying bills and searching for happiness rather than creating it. I hide beneath my covers rather than facing the world and continuing to move forward. I allow my void to be filled with emptiness and routine and I become stagnant, then restless and then I remember those two words that form a question....What's Next?
So I come home from Cozumel and a week later I am back in the pool. 3/4 of the class passes by and Jonathan turns to me and says "OK Marty. you are done for the day." "Huh? Wait...what?" I reply. "You just got done with a race time to get out of the pool" his reply........"How could you kick me out of this warm pool and back into the cold cold world?" I say knowing damn well of it's multiple meanings as I state those words. Such a metaphor for folks just completing a task. These are my peeps of Sunday morning swim and I have to leave them? It's -5 degrees out and I have to leave the warmth and security of this womb and for what I have been training for for months and be casted out back into the real world and friggen cold.
So for the next few days I find myself tending to recovery of my legs and feet and slowing getting back into training. I meet with Coach Eric. I go on line and look at races. I check out exotic lands and surf and yoga camps. I think about the holidays coming and how progress is at work. I plan snowboard vacations and ponder about if where and when will I met that special someone to walk besides or have I already met her and just don't know it yet. I think about the lyrics to Hello my old heart.....
and I wonder if I have set my old heart free. And I get a massage and visit Heather for her to check out my legs and feet and work her magic. I am able to attend full swim sessions, I pick up Bella from the bike shop after not seeing her for weeks. I spend a lot of time with my Boy and get the opportunity to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and take in a show and go out for dinners.
The what next is not just about what adventure is next in my life. What race or physical/mental/spiritual test will I put myself through. This what next is within each phase of my life. A demon I have talked about in the past is the ability to put out there into the world your intention for all to know and hear. This is a scary proposition because what if you don't come through? What if you fail at it? Then everyone will know you are a failure. What about those people that shout everything out to the roof tops but never do anything? No one heeds their words or believes in them. They are just talkers. I certainly don't want to be put into that category as a person as well. So it is a difficult thing to do, in my eyes, to set something out there in the universe for all to see because of potential failure and then to have the knowledge that you must be accountable for actions to follow up with those words.
So without further ado....What's next??
1) In work..... I desire to lead a team that stops thinking of paycheck to paycheck and instead creates visions and turns them into reality and stops using excuses but instead finds answers. I will continue to enlist those who share the vision and dream and help one another to move forward rather than detracting and attempting to bring the team down. Help make it better or move on.
2) In my personal life I keep thinking of these three things....
b-Honesty ~ Brutal honesty. Not to hurt but to better
Meditation ~ I know in my soul it comes down to meditating. Being at peace and spending time on the cushion or in a church. But it is so easy to put off or to forget or to be too busy. I know it is the answer but yet at times I stay away. It is my intention to get back to a regular practice of spiritual development.
Honesty ~ Brutal honesty to myself and to others. Not to be hurtful but to be helpful. To be truly and completely honest to ourselves is huge. We at times are so hard on ourselves and talk and treat ourselves worse than we would an enemy. It is my intention to be as honest as possible to all those around me out of love and respect for themselves and myself. It is my intention to try not to be so hard on myself if I do not achieve or do as I would hope to have. I also will attempt to do a better job on following through on my own personal promises.
Physical Fitness ~ Get in there and make time for yourself. It is my intention to get to a 12% body composition at 165-170 pounds. That is what I feel good at and to be satisfied with my own body image.
In short on the grand scheme of life.....What's Next is to build and develop myself and my spirit, my mind and my body. To continue to search out and explore and experience life. To live life in the present and appreciate everything that surrounds me.
What's next??? I always want to make sure that my family knows how much I love them and how thankful I am for them and all the sacrifices that they have made for me and that I apologize for any pain or hardships that I may have created for them.
What's next???? I'm naked and I'm standing in the sink and I Dig it!
I'm not sure where or how life will take me. But I can't wait and I look forward to every second of it.