All the racing, all the miles, all the medals would not have been possible without a choice I made 5 years ago today.
My life without a doubt would be inherently different. I wouldn’t know what it was like to push my body to exhaustion, to feel the gains from hard workouts, and to wake up excited to face a new day.
These days with the pressure of social media and the illusion of the perfect life, living your life can be difficult. Making decisions for yourself without the worry of what others may think or what they did or how they did it. There are things only we can do for ourselves, truly for the well being of oneself.
My first race, shortly after decision day
I can never claim that I’ve had it easy. It has been one road block after challenge after disappointment. I learned at an early age that I needed to look out for myself, that I needed to be in control of my own actions. I had no choice but to grow up fast, get a job (or two), and look after my siblings. Learning to budget money and pay bills at 14 is a skill that I adapted to quite naturally. When you grow up young and broke like that, you have a deeper appreciation towards “stuff”. You become attached to the smallest things that others don’t understand. You become hard. Your interactions with people become just that, an interaction. Emotion plays no roll, it’s not that you don’t feel, you just don’t have the luxury of feeling, there are things to do. With that I excelled in school, gaining a 5 year academic scholarship to a prestigious university. I had to, I wasn’t going to be able to pay to go to college.
With the odds stacked against me in the way they were, my life should have, by facts alone, turned out differently. When you grow up in a family of addicts, some in recovery, some relapsing more times than you can even count, and some dead already, by statistics you should be one too. But alas, I made my decision long ago: “I would NEVER be like my mother, I would never do to my children what she did to us”. This reminds me of a short entry I wrote awhile ago, I have never shared it with anyone. Today is your lucky day.
Somethings in life make sense. There are some things that happen with no warning.
You have a choice. Pull your boots up and get to work, be strong, survive. Or feel nothing, hide, and blame some one else. Either choice happens naturally and is hard to understand from the others view. Some could say it is Strong vs. Weak. When asked how you handle certain things, the Strong will tell you that they have no choice, that this is what needs to be done. There are people counting on them, bills to pay, shit to get done. The Weak will also say they don’t have a choice. That they are paralyzed, overwhelmed, not capable of dealing. So is it a choice, really? Is it ingrained within us from the beginning or taught? Can you be both? Most of you will identify with one or the other, possibly both. Can the Strong stay strong? Even then there is a breaking point where they get a glimpse of the other side where vulnerability is raw. Is that worse somehow? Feeling all the emotions, seeing all the situations, wondering how you accomplished these seemingly insurmountable tasks without even blinking. It seemed like the logical path and the most clear at the time. Was it a sort of delusion, a type of tunnel vision? But even that breaking point is short lived, there is no luxury for the Strong, they have the Weak to take care of.
Today, this day 5 years ago is not something I share voluntarily. The decision that was made then is common knowledge, yes; but not given out right. People ask me if it is hard, to stick with my decision. The answer is no. I made a choice and once that choice was made, the alternative isn’t even on the table. That day I had a glimpse of what my life would/could be if i didn’t take action. It was easy. I say that I made the choice while I still could, before the hold became too strong and I couldn’t think for myself. But I don’t know if that is true, I came from a small town and did more things in high school than most people do in college. A part of me feels that if I was going to disappear, it would have happened by then.
So this day 5 years ago I chose to stop drinking. Like I said, I do not share this outright. In social situations I say i don’t drink. People think that is because of my level of athletic accomplishments and training. Let them.
This aptly came on the radio in the middle of writing this.