And the answer is, I have no idea.
But I feel compelled to provide a better answer than that, so I’ll attempt to break it down a bit, dig in and provide as much insight as possible.
First, the idea came to me while watching MTV. While MTV is not normally a source of inspiration for me, or anyone for that matter, I happened to catch the end of an episode of MADE, where an overweight and clearly non-athletic high school kid was struggling his way through a triathlon. At the end of the race, he was crying, his mom was crying, his trainer was crying. Against all odds, he had finished the race. Something about it touched me more than I would have guessed a show like MADE could, and I said to my brother “I would like to run a triathlon someday. That would be really cool.” Operative word here is of course “someday”- meaning you can get away with not ever doing it because the future is, well, always in the future.
But the idea stuck with me, and while it didn’t necessarily make sense (for the reasons I described in my first post), I realized that I meant what I said. I wanted to do it. And thinking about it more, what would be my reason to NOT do it? I could come up with no viable excuse (and believe me, I tried realllly hard to find one). If I wanted to do it and didn’t, I would just be lazy. That would be the only reason. And who wants to be lazy?
Reasons to do it? Many. Reasons to not do it? None. Even a mathematically and athletically challenged person like myself realized that was a very clear score. Triathlon beats laziness in an upset no one saw coming. So there was really no choice; I had made up my mind before I even realized it.
Also, I had been suffering through a kind of quarter-life crisis that was in large part self-induced. It’s a little hard to explain unless you’ve been there, or if you know me. While I’m an overall positive and happy person, my mind is naturally like a slow-cooker— things stay in there and marinate, slowly dissolving, until I have completely dissected the smallest minutiae of my life. It’s an exhausting, vicious, anxiety-inducing habit. And I knew that there are much worse things in life than the things I was dealing with, and that I needed to focus my energy on positive things, not negative ones. I am a single 26-year-old who lives alone with 2 cats and hasn’t been in a serious relationship since before I could legally drink, yes. But looking at it in a different light, I am independent, support myself, and can decorate however I want to. The toilet seat is never left up. No one leaves shoes or dirty clothes lying around my apartment but me. I am surrounded by wonderful friends and family. And my cats rock.
It’s all in how you look at it, and before I was allowing myself to wallow in the negativity, instead of brushing it off and moving forward. There’s not much I can do about not being single; actually, I have done all the things you can actively do to try not to be single, and those unfortunate experiences did not help me feel any better. In fact, they made me feel worse and are stories for another time, because they should only be told over many glasses of wine. Complaining about still being in Connecticut after all these years wasn’t getting me out of Connecticut, it was just making me more discontent, and I wasn’t making moves to go anywhere even with all that bitching I was doing. I was at the end of my rope with myself. But I love me, so I decided it was time for a major overhaul.
And I decided to change everything. It’s that complicated, and it’s that simple. I don’t even allow myself to think about my single status, for example. For the first time in a long time, I don’t even want to date. For real. (I used to cover my eyes and say “I’m not looking…I’m not looking” when people would tell me I’d find him when I wasn’t looking for him, so those who know me might be initially skeptical upon hearing this. But I swear, guys, it’s true.). I want to put that energy–because it took a LOT of energy–towards something new. I live in an apartment, and a house seems so far away from my reach, but you know what? Either I’ll have a house someday or I won’t, and there’s only so much I can do about that. So I need to do what I can and move on. It’s all very self-help book sounding at this point, I know, but go with me on this. Negativity breeds negativity. I need positivity, for the big things and for the every day things. It’s a conscious effort. For example, maybe I left the house late and spilled coffee on my shirt and sat in traffic because it was snowing (and I hate snow) and was late to work and inhaled fuzz from my glove and couldn’t stop coughing for 20 minutes. You could definitely allow a series of annoying things like that to be the start of a bad, grouchy day, and you might even feel justified for feeling that way. Or, you could realize there’s nothing to be done about those things, so they don’t really matter. After all, fuzz is digestible. Don’t focus on it. Instead, focus on having a good day. MAKE yourself be happy. And you can be.
From that I realized I had to pick the bigger things I could change in my life that were worthy of attention, and change them. I started Weight Watchers on December 9th and have lost 11 pounds to date (and I weigh in tonight, yikes, wish me luck!). I was skeptical of it at first, but now when I talk about it I sound like a paid spokesperson (I’m not, but Weight Watchers, if you’re reading this, have your people call my people). I feel great. My goal is 12.2 more pounds by May 1st, and then 4 more after that, which will happen because it’s up to me, and I see success as the only option.
And here, we come full circle back to the triathlon idea. For whatever reason and accumulation of circumstances, I want to complete a triathlon. So I will. I will use my energy to focus, concentrate, work hard, step outside the box. Actually, I will swim, bike and run outside the box. Why not?