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Suck it up, Buttercup

I am sure I will get a bit of grief about this post as some people might take my thoughts personally and feel the need to justify themselves. I am fine with that. It means I got you thinking about yourself, your excuses, and outlook.

Here's the thing...

You can live your life fully, throwing yourself into whatever it is you choose to do, or you can walk around full of excuses as to why you can't do something. Back in my mid-20's, I worked as a personal trainer for a spell in an affluent upscale fitness center. I quickly learned that people would pay what I considered a ridiculous amount to spend an hour with me supervising them as they lifted weights, ran up and down stairs, or worked through plyometric exercises and stretching routines. I would give them "homework" ranging from cardiovascular exercises to diet modifications even as simple as drinking more water each day, and things they could do in their daily routine to help them achieve their goals. The next week when they came back for session, I honestly could say at least 80% of them did not do much or any of their homework. I heard so many excuses ranging from work constraints, having to go out drinking and entertaining clients, to the best one of all time, "I did go to the gym 5 times in the past week. I used the sauna every day to sweat off the fat." (true story!) The point is, not one of the excuse justifiers achieved their goals as much as I did everything I could, aside from doing their workouts for them, to help them achieve them. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't force him to drink.

To each his own, right? I used to think that... but then I had my daughter, Hayden. Perhaps having a child with special needs has made me a bit more cynical, and I will acknowledge that... but here's where the post changes tone from the usually Polyanna style I write with... I am soo over the whining. Just stop the excuses people!

Racing, I feel, truly is a metaphor for life. When the start gun goes off, we are all equal and share a similar goal... get to the finish line, preferably as fast as we can. While yes, I have been fortunate to have had success in my sport and be able to use it as a platform to share with the world about my daughter and her condition, I don't use her as my excuse as to why I do or do not perform well. This past summer as I have written about, I had a tough race. I fought from beginning to end. I did not have my best performance and was bummed, I will admit. Did I have an underlying medical condition that contributed to my race results? Later I learned that I did, but instead of using the "woe is me and my tough life" card, I researched what I could do about it and worked to overcome it the rest of the season. The rest of the training and racing season was filled with good and bad days, but each day I pushed to move forward and doing little things to help me achieve my goals despite my life circumstances.

I have a friend who is a competitive podium level athlete and has overcome a condition she battled for years, became an incredibly fast Masters level competitive swimmer, has raced USAT age group nationals, and has even completed an Ironman with a very respectable finish time, suddenly decided to race this year as a challenged athlete when she attempted to race Xterra. While it was great that she got on top of the podium at the races she competed in (granted, she was the only athlete in her division), I was hurt by her decision and how she raced compared to what I knew she was capable of based on past race experiences. Suddenly, this athlete who swims laps around me in the pool every day was getting out of the water 5 minutes behind me in a race. She didn't train as she had in the past, but used her condition as an excuse for performance. Spitefully, we had a heated texting session (I know, never text when upset, you never know how it will be interpreted) where she shared with me characteristics of her condition and justification for her racing in the challenged division. I fired back  my "challenges": the lack of sleep -it was 11pm, my husband was out of town for the week for work, and Hayden was having a meltdown of a sleepless night, not to mention how my back was aching from having to pick up my 55 pound child and twist to get her in and out of the car and carry her when she refused to walk herself up the stairs, and I was in the throws of my adrenal fatigue issues. Yes, my body has physical challenges it has to overcome too. If I crash on the bike, break a clavicle, twist an ankle running to where I can't walk, I am in serious trouble. Who would take care of my daughter then?

The point is, we all have "stuff". Some have physical limitations, others mental/emotional issues, and many people have family and life circumstances that can downright suck at times. Its not what we have in that backpack that weighs us down, but our attitude that determines if we are going to cross that finish line.

So, are you going to be one who has an excuse at the finish line of every race or are you going to wake up in the morning, get out of bed despite the dreariness outside the window, and make the most of the day? It is not my place to judge you, but I may smile while hurt is conveyed in my eyes (My husband says I wear what I am thinking all across my face. People know what I am thinking even when I don't say a word). You have so much potential. You can walk. You can run. You can squeeze every morsel out of each day... or you can fill the day with excuses. Just know you only get this day, this life, once. I hope when you look back at it you can smile, knowing you made the most of who you are, your talents and gifts from God above, and the potential to overcome the challenges, the rain, and soak in the sunshine along the way.


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