Being True to Yourself

There is something from AONC that catalized my thoughts from the last few weeks

Look around you at the world. Look at what troubles you. Look at what is not right. You could look at these things and reflect, as many people do: “It is what it is.” This is a popular expression among cynics, along with “Welcome to the Real World.”

Or you could reflect: “Hmmm. What could be done to change this?” Summoning the courage to answer this question is what separates you from the cynics.

How about when you succeed—then what? Alas, in the eyes of cynics, success is a hard sell. They’ll say you’re the exception, or that you didn’t follow the right rules to achieve the success. They’ll find a reason why your success is an outlier, and therefore not applicable to their model. But that’s OK, because their model sucks.

This is why you must not work for the approval of cynics; you must have a higher motivation that is yours alone. You must work for what is noble and right, and for what is true to your own self.

Because you, not being a cynic or a naysayer or a charlatan, have already tipped the odds in your favor simply by daring to believe in something. You’ll get your way in the end, and then people will say… “That’s nice, but it’s just not realistic.”

Then you continue to live your unrealistic, grandiose life.

When I left Chico I made a promise to myself. I promised that I wouldn't compromise my life any more. I promised that I would live my life to its fullest and that I wouldn't settle for compromises where I had an option. I think part of what makes me angry is that I feel I'm settling for something I am not going to be happy with at all.

That's where I'm struggling now; that's where I'm having problems. I can see the goal I want to reach but I can't see the path to get there.  I'm starting to see the need of a radical change but I can't summon the courage to actually make the change happen.

I saw this post from Legal Nomads a few days ago and it's been in my mind a lot lately:

One of my closest friends returned from a contract in Ghana only to find he wasn’t empathetic to his friends’ complaints about the weather or traffic. They called him irritable; he called them snobby, told them they lacked perspective. His friends did have perspective – it just wasn’t along the lines of what he was prepared to digest. It was embodied differently: less stark, less earnest, but nonetheless present. I gently suggested that he lacked some perspective too; in straddling the world between Africa and the States, he couldn’t relate to either. Having returned several times during my years of travel, I understood where he was coming from. I remembered the frustration of knowing that my mental state didn’t jive whatsoever with those around me. I remembered looking out at the Brooklyn Bridge and thinking “I’m over this. Where’s the sticky rice?” But as I slowly seeped back into the world I used to know, those ragged edges smoothed and conversations became easier. I learned to enjoy the Brooklyn Bridge again. (But I still missed the sticky rice).

. . .

During that sleepless night as the fire spread through Hpa-An, the few foreigners in town ran out to help. Of course we did! We offered to carry water, to help evacuate, to carry goods from store to store. And as I ran around I told myself to remember this moment for when I got home. Why? Because I knew that in going home I would get caught up in the resentment of feeling like I didn’t belong. I knew there would be moments where I would fail to see the forest through the trees. I wanted to remind myself of the invaluable perspective I gained by being present in Hpa-An, that floating-above feeling of seeing one life as part of a wider tapestry.

And you know what? When I lost all of my travel memories in a robbery back in the fall, this is what I remembered. Hpa-An. Hpa-An and all of those other hairline moments, tiptoeing the tightrope between life and loss, many of which I’ve never written about. It’s not a matter of sanctimony – believe me, I cried serious tears when I found out those photos (along with my laptop and camera and hard drives) were gone. But in keeping these moments close, in trying to cross-reference where I am with where I’ve been and the lessons I’ve learned, I keep my own perspective intact. Remind myself of what really matters in life. This isn’t why I travel, but it is important; it keeps me calibrated. Whatever aggregate frustration or culture shock or negativity I’ve built up, even when things feel like they’ve hit rock bottom, it could always be worse. This is one of the many gifts that travel gives us. We always say “try to put yourself in their shoes to understand.”  But when your travels necessitate that you do so – be it for a moment, or a week or a sleepless night in a tiny river town –  the comparison solidifies into something you can come back to, time and time again.

Where do you want to go? How do You want to get there?  I think it's kinda funny that every so often I get the wanderlust craze and want to do something completely off kilter but I never really get to it. I think it's definitely time for a change.

Endorphins helped a lot today (3/12) to put things into further perspective. I'm healthy (as healthy as can be expected) and have a full 9 months of training so.... Unless something radically changes the way the game is being played I think we can hold off on any knee-jerk reactions, don't you think? 😉

The other thing that bugs me is that I'm not sure I'm at the right place regarding training. Can I cycle 45 miles without falling over from exhaustion?  I know it's early in the season but I'm still having to answer that and be honest with myself as far as how long do I have to get myself in shape for Ironman Arizona and the training races before it: Rev 3 and Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

(3/13) I did my first full run workout since the fall and I feel awesome! The music was kinda weird but it worked a lot better than I thought it would.  Between Train, Armin van Buuren and Tiesto they made for a very enjoyable run at the gym.  That and a conversation I had with my mom made me realize (again) the value of patience. I may have to put up with crap for longer than I wanted but it'll definitely leave me in a better position to face the future (whatever shape that future takes)

I was also reminded of this song in Rent. It's not Seasons Of Love but the song before it. It's a reminder that whatever we don't do now we might not be able to do at all. The only day we're guaranteed to have is today and once it becomes the past it's gone and the future hasn't arrived yet.