I guess I couldn’t stay away for too long. Writing, like running, is a cleansing thing for me. And maybe you’re wondering….what happened next? And I hope I don’t disappoint.
But truth is, what happened next is an unwinding. Relaxation. Rest. Recovery. I needed it. To focus so intently on a goal for so long, to be physically and mentally moving so constantly, to remove all distractions and never waver…it’s exhausting. It was a phenomenal feeling of accomplishment to cross the finish line. And then I needed to not be doing it anymore. Just for a little while.
When I crossed that finish line I was a different person than the day I signed up for the race. Achieving everything you’ve set out to achieve is as awe-inspiring as it is humbling. Somehow, by the time I crossed that line, everything else in my life had fallen into place. Some things had changed drastically, others hadn’t changed at all. But my outlook on everything had changed- so therefore, everything was different. Everything was better.
And, perhaps one of the most mystifying things of all- in the midst of all of this, in the midst of not trying, of not thinking about dating, of not wanting to date, of being happy being just me- I met the greatest guy. By the time I crossed that finish line I was falling in love. And that was the one thing I didn’t really dream would actually happen. But somehow, by making other things happen- things for me happen- that happened, too.
I know that it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gotten myself to a good place. My mom once told me that I had to focus on myself, on what I wanted, what made me happy, before I could ever hope to find a good relationship. Honestly, at the time, I thought she was missing the point- she had no idea what it felt like to be me, 26 and single for years, when she, at 26, was married and pregnant with me. Oh boy, I should have known better. As I think I’ve said before, my mom is smart and pretty much always right. Despite knowing that, I brushed off her comments at the time. But I never forgot the conversation we had, and I’ve since realized that she was right.
There are some things in life, like completing a triathlon, that you can work towards, and, through lots of hard work and effort, achieve. There are other things, like love, that you just can’t. You just have to get yourself to a place where you’ll be ready for it, should it come into your life. Without knowing it, I wasn’t ready before. And then, also without knowing it, I was. And love walked in.
Believe me, I’m well aware of how cliched and storybook-ending that sounds. And I don’t care, because it’s what happened. Cliches are cliches for a reason- because they’re true more often than not, and there is no such thing as a storybook-ending and I’m well aware of that. (Ok, that’s not quite true- I’ll always hold out for the storybook ending. My version of the storybook, that is). The point is…well, there’s lots of points, aren’t there? But ultimately, it’s just like I said in the beginning- it’s all in how you look at things. It’s that complicated, and it’s that simple. It’s still pretty emotional for me when I think about the past nine or so months- how far I’ve come, how hard I’ve worked, how happiness came once I stopped trying so hard to have it.
Somewhere in this period of recovery came another realization. While I needed to slow down, I really don’t want to lose my momentum, I don’t want to stop here. I decided I want to do the triathlon again next year- and I still don’t really know if I can pinpoint why. I just do. And so I will. Isn’t that how it’s always worked? I know that, moving forward, I want and need more of a balance between this and everything else. Before, it consumed me, and that was a good thing. Now, making sure it doesn’t consume me will also be a good thing. By focusing on that one thing for a while, I emerged with a well-rounded life, a new appreciation for every piece of it, and a fresh outlook on what’s to come. And I’m going to run with that.