Some years float by, easily making their way in and out with few bumps or milestones or major memories. You cherish the time, but it’s not necessarily marked with something that differentiates it from any other year. Others stand out. A move or job change or loss or illness or shift in your responsibilities or priorities. Whatever it might be, it leaves a mark. That was 2017 for me.
The details aren’t important right now, it was just one of those years I’ll never forget. Nothing catastrophic. But still, heavy at times. I’ve talked about it some on the blog, but we walked through some of our worst and best seasons of marriage and parenting last year. I walked through some of my best and worst moments personally, in my health, fitness, weight, and spiritual and emotional well-being. It was a heavy year that ended so well, but also left me with much to process and shed in 2018.
Enter Scarlet(that’s my bike’s name, in case you missed it). It’s very mature and 36 of me to name my bike, I get this. I mean, she just needed to be personalized if she’s going to carry me into a new year(cheese). I stand by my decision, even if it is a little 7th grade. And I’ve run into several people lately that have asked about her by name, so there(also…mature).
Ya’ll know I can’t think about this bike without pondering some deeper meaning ha! And those that know me best know I’m never at a loss for thoughts and words, deeper meanings to seemingly unimportant things and a fair amount of soul-searching. I’m a thinker and a dreamer, and to me, all things fitness go way beyond the six pack and tight glutes.
I found myself in a bit of a dark hole last year. I’ve said this several times the past few months, but I didn’t care about my body, my mind, my heart, my nutrition, my running goals. I tried to care, I wanted to care, but I kept coming up short. I wasn’t depressed, I just told myself yes to a lot of the wrong things. In fact, when sharing some changes I wanted to make in 2018 with Rob, his response was, “well, I think it comes down to the fact that you just haven’t told yourself no enough.”
But he was right.
I said yes to all the wrong food and drink, yes to sleeping in more often than was necessary, yes to skipping the run, yes to my kids even if what they wanted wasn’t best for them(lazy parenting is basically what it came down to), yes to other people, yes to unnecessary spending. I was focussing so much on giving myself everything I wanted, (to my detriment) and giving everyone else what they wanted or needed from me, that I was neglecting what was best for me. There is a fine line between doing for other’s, and neglecting oneself. If you neglect yourself and your care, you’re not as capable to care for or make decisions on behalf of other’s, for example, your kids.
You can do all these good things, but it doesn’t mean they are the best things. It’s the whole concept of the best yes’, and the right no’s. I needed to start saying no a little bit more to the self that had fallen into lazy patterns and a lack of care about my body and soul. I had missed races, obtained pesky injury after pesky injury, and found myself in a merry-go-round of carting kids to and from practices and doing the dishes and the laundry and drowning my sorrows in the pantry. I was doing and going so much that I lost myself. I lost sight of how to truly care for myself in all of the ways. It became a game of excuses and reasons why I couldn’t. And that was not ok.
I’ve been telling Rob for years that I’d like to get back into triathlon. I had found myself so unmotivated about just running. I was bored and hesitant to try anything because I kept hitting setbacks(which in hindsight, were primarily due to an unhealthy lifestyle). I just could not seem to pull myself out of the funk, and I’m this trainer person who is supposed to have the fitness and health stuff together. We talked about a new bike being the catalyst for change for me, and I think that’s exactly what she will be. In fact, since she showed up, I feel different(we could also attribute this feeling to more vegetables and less burgers haha!). It may sound stupid to bond to an inanimate object and find some deeper meaning to it, but I don’t think it’s stupid at all. This bike represents change. My change. My journey. My 2018. A shift in priorities and attitude. A shift in how I view my time and a shift in how I view myself and my goals.
For the past few years my goals have been tentative. Like, if everything in my life falls perfectly into place, then I’ll………fill in the blank. The problem is, life is all wacked out, and out of balance. I mean just a peek into my laundry room will prove this point.
The concept of balance is a fine one, but I haven’t found it to be very realistic or practical, at least not in my world. Because frankly, our life is all kinds of off-balance from the outside looking in, and even from the inside looking out(at everyone who “has it all together” and isn’t currently yelling at their offspring or hiding out in the closet with a burger and box of Oreos).
Life is hard. Marriage is work. Parenting will absolutely bring you to your knees. Then you add jobs and responsibilities and relationships. It’s a battle. Can we say that? I think so. It’s still beautiful and sweet and a blessed gift, but it was never promised to be easy.
So, this striving for balance doesn’t always work for me because if signifies perfection. If you think about a scale, with plates on either side, the only way to have it balanced is to have each side perfectly measured. It takes a great deal of precision. It doesn’t come into perfect balance often, and when it does it takes but a strong breath to shift its weight to one side or the other. And so, instead of perfection, maybe we could strive to do the very best with the season and circumstances we’ve been given. Measure our yes’ and no’s carefully, doing our best to prioritize in the best way possible. This allows for grace when, not IF, but WHEN, we fail, and that grace gives us the freedom to get right back in the game. Or to start over.
So. The bike. She’s sweet, and I’ll write a full review of her actual components and such, once I figure out what they are, and what I plan to use her for, but today was more about my heart behind her.
Saying no to the unhealthy things in my life.
Embracing my season and taking back some control.
Not just in fitness but in the way I spend money, the way I set my schedule during the day, the time I spend on social media, the time I spend digging in deep into truth and getting closer to Christ. It’s so much more than a physical change. When we’re brought to our breaking point after a long fight to remain the same, and God says it’s time for change, we must act. We CAN act. And it’s going to be hard. It will require sacrifice. A different kind of fight. Grit. Determination. Focus. You may get criticized or made fun of. You may be on your own as you step out of your comfortable bed into the cold of the morning to take those steps towards your goals. But you can do it. I promise. I’m here doing it with you. And you don’t necessarily need a shiny new bike to get there. That much I know. xoxo
*****Felt IA 16 purchased at Tri Shop in Plano, Tx. If you are local and looking for a bike or anything triathlon related, I highly recommend them. I’m not getting paid for any advertisement, just speaking from a fantastic personal experience with this store!!****