Thoughts from a Lone Wolf

There are only two types of people in the world: those who love to be on their own and those who dread it.

I am all for doing things on my own (read: without people) as it is my time for renewal and refreshment. The introvert in me craves quiet time reading or thinking, values 30 minutes or even an hour to exist in my own little bubble, and doesn’t seem to mind the interruption by my furry companion.  The quiet restores my energy stores, as does actually getting eight hours of sleep (almost unheard of these days), and provides reserves for many social activities and being around people that also accompany my schedule.

One colleague of mine is convinced that my being alone must be a sign that something is wrong with me :P I beg to differ, and constantly try to convince them that in all actuality, I love having time to myself. Granted, I don’t really sit around on my couch doing nothing, but even going for a half day bike ride or a brisk run through the river path or carving my way up or down a mountain counts as my own time. “Alone” implies loneliness, exclusion, or desire for companionship which is why I prefer the term “lone wolf” which tends to imply a solo effort, pressing onwards towards adventures unaccompanied, or simply without others present. Don’t get me wrong, I love being around people. My friends and family are great, but there is always a time and a place for flying solo.

While one roams the internet for triathlon blogs, of which there are many, a common theme within triathletes seems to be the desire for being a lone wolf. Yeah sure, many of us enjoy biking in “packs,” swimming with others, and running with a training partner or two, but many triathletes still consider that their “alone time.” A huge majority lead busy lives with viable careers, families, social agendas, hobbies besides swim, bike, and run, and other human necessities such as eating and sleeping. Oh, the tragedy… it does seem that many find their triathlon training as their alone time, and utilize it to help them cope with the stresses of “normal life” and to give them energy, despite the counter-intuitive nature of that thought. I can totally relate! Busting my butt in training provides me energy and enthusiasm to plow forward through life.

With the advent of smartphones, texting, and instant gratification shopping experiences such as Amazon, it’s no wonder that people can’t just sit and think to themselves, read without interruption, or even just ponder a response before flinging an ill-tempered, reactionary communication string off into the nether. People expect tomorrow to be today, and for soon to be now, and it shows in our society with people not saving properly, spending whenever they feel like it because they can, and getting cars, houses, etc. that are well beyond range of their budget. Responsible fiscal management: what’s that?
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It’s much easier to budget and manage life when you don’t have other responsibilities weighing on you besides your dog, but it also provides some of the greatest tests. Sure, you can afford to make a big purchase because you have the money, but is it the smart thing to do? Managing a fiscal budget is tough; managing your time budget is even more taxing.

Time is almost always one’s most precious asset. Everything in life takes time. The great things in life take incredible amounts of time. Ask someone training for an IRONMAN how much time it takes them… tons is a gross understatement. As a lone wolf, I find it difficult to allocate my time properly to achieve a healthy balance, mostly because it is hard for me to admit when I truly do need the alone time that I hold so dear. It is much, much easier to overwhelm my weekly calendar with things than it is for me to carve out a large chunk of “Russell time.” My solace for this time of year when the skies are bleak and the wind cold is that triathlon season is around the corner, and with its craziness and long days and short nights still comes the alone time that I so look forward to. That, and who doesn’t enjoy a good race?!

I’ve said it before and I will keep on saying it: we get 24 hours a day for each of 7 days a week and that’s it. There is truly no way to snatch an extra hour magically from the air. Whoever can figure out such a tactic for acquiring additional time will easily become an overnight billionaire. Balance yourself by budgeting your time and you will find success knocking at your door.

Picture credit 1.Picture credit 2.

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5 Comments

  1. Enjoy the alone time while you can! As life becomes more complicated; spouse, kids, promotions, etc sometimes you lose yourself along the way. But yes, I do think it’s important to be able to be with yourself. I’m glad to say that my kids (and husband) all seem comfortable and confident in that area… and fiscally responsible too!!

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