The Weight We All Carry

What’s up Reno!?

2017 is slipping away quicker than you may have expected, and with only 347 days until the new year, you’re looking at 1.05% of our days having been spent already. How did you use those 416 hours we’ve been given so far? Did you make good resolutions and stick them? Did you watch too much Netflix? When was the last time you went for a walk? Time is always fleeting, and I often find myself guilty of wanting to be somewhere else doing something else.

For once in my life, I feel like I have actually done the new year correctly. I’m normally a molten canister of stress, built on disdain for the icy weather and burdening myself with inconsequential things. 2017 has been different. I have found renewed energy for my training (specifically doing a ton of running), rejuvenation of my love for my work, and in taking a fond and quiescent appreciation for the little things – hot chocolate, watching a good movie, having snow (whether or not I almost break my neck on our icy driveway) – all good things, in and of themselves.

I was walking up the stairs the other day, thinking back over the past year and change that I’ve been married, and that got my thinking about the years prior, specifically 2014. 2014 was amazing, and unearthly, and mind-blowingly awesome, right until 2 days before my birthday when IRONMAN Lake Tahoe was canceled due to catastrophic forest fires. It took me a really, really long time to finally come to terms with what had transpired and to realize that it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, 2014 ended on some crazy high notes! An epic trip to Peru, resurrecting my love for Legos, and proposing to my (now) wife. Woot! That’s a pretty amazing end to the year, and when it boils down to it, I finished the race. I trained, I prepared, I struggled, and I achieved, and I still got the backpack, finisher’s medal, and t-shirt without a formal finish.

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Ever since that race, I have carried my laptop and papers to work in that 2014 IRONMAN Lake Tahoe backpack. Every single day I carry it up and down the stairs, in and out of the car, and around with me everywhere I go. It’s a constant reminder. Not a reminder of a failure or a disappointment, but as a reminder of an obstacle and unexpected change in plan that had to be dealt with. It’s a constant reminder. A reminder of a huge shift in the plan that worked out for the best, that made me who I am today, and that gave me a very unique perspective on the world. It’s a constant reminder. The negative feelings and emotions associated with that event have long passed, and have been replaced with a “holy cow, do you remember when…” and an internal drive to rise to the challenge. It’s a constant reminder. The successes I’ve had since have far outweighed the burdens of that day, and this grants me perspective on those successes.

I’ve never met someone who doesn’t carry burdens, bad memories, and some battle wounds around with them, but I do know that there are plenty of outlets to deal with the negativity and turn that into a positive, driving fuel instead of a darkness that holds you back… time heals the wounds, and the wounds fuel great things to come!

My encouragement is rooted in the fact that everything that happens in my life – the good, the bad, the ugly, the magnificent  – all happen for specific reasons, whether to make me a better person, to open my eyes to something I haven’t noticed before, or just to give me a serving of humble pie. I am the king of overreacting, no question there, but I’m slowly learning to take things in stride a bit more and to examine the larger picture.

What burdens have you carried that provide you motivation to be better? How do you leverage your weaknesses to turn them into strengths?

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