It is interesting how the last year has gone. I finally tackled a few hurdles. After a couple of false starts I managed to earn my first two marathon medals and qualify for Boston under the new timing guideline. ::I totally forgot to mention my first ultra and that my wife is running as well.:: There have also been the friendships and connections made during that time. These people have not only been great sources of information, they have also afforded me the opportunity to see myself in a different light. They have enabled me to expand my realm of possibility. These friends/acquaintances have also enabled me to think more clearly, more critically about myself. Not "critical" in a negative sense, but in a way that strips the unnecessary for my being and boils everything down to the essential elements.
What I find is that today I like myself more because of these people. Not that there is more of me to like; rather, these folks afforded me the opportunity to discover what is valuable and important in life. Not accumulation. Not status nor position. Its experience. "You can't take it with you" is a common refrain. Worldly possessions remain in this world. Objects can be misplaced, lost, stolen. Memories are forever. Whether they are locked in my mind or the collective memories of my accomplices or committed to paper.
One lesson that the last year reinforced is that few things are permanent. There is definitely an ebb and flow to life. Change is constant. What I choose to cling to on this day may be cast aside with barely a second thought tomorrow. That does not minimize the impact of the encounter. The impression stays long after the person has moved on.
These impressions made the deepest impact on two facets of my life. Ultras and alcohol.
I may not be a true run-junkie, but I love the fix running brings. And I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from running a long damn way. Going further than before. Building the training schedule with seemingly impossible numbers and then having to mesh it into my life with grace and balance.
The breakthrough for me is that alcohol had been the roadblock to achieving any sort of grace or balance. While not an alcoholic I did drink to feel the affects. I did drink to experience the buzz. And when life interrupted my dance with the buzz I would get pissy. I'll be brief but this is how I explained it to my wife last night
Drinking with a group or at an event is fun and part of the overall event. Its fun and engaging. Drinking at home is just sad and lonely. Rather than being part of the experience it becomes the experience. Not that I don't want my daughters to see me consume alcohol, nor do I consider alcohol bad on any level, my ability to be an engaged nurturing father is compromised when I drink at home, alone.
She responded that she was proud of me. Proud that I am considering these ideas in a critical way. Proud that I set myself up to walk away from temptation. She is proud that I am testing myself not giving in to what is easy.
So to the people that opened my mind to the possibility of a better me - thank you. Even for some of you that were only here for a passing moment, your impression will be felt for a long time.