Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Livin' the Sweet Life

I'm pretty sure I've written this blog post 100 times in my head. Somehow though, it always stays there and I'm unable to find the words to express it in a way that won't piss a lot of people off. Honestly, I'm not sure I know even now how to express it without pissing people off, but since I'm tackling my immense fear of judgment head on, we'll just consider this post a lesson in facing my fears.

I'm tired of other people telling me my life is easy. Don't get me wrong- I know I have a pretty sweet life. What girl wouldn't want her own business, a hot guy (who smells really good) and a high metabolism? So, yes, I know I have it great. I will never argue with that. I'm just really sick of the idea that getting all this awesomeness was "easy". That business I run? I worked 39 hours a week at a YMCA while I got it started. I still work at least one, sometimes 5 or 6, part time jobs a year to keep it going. That hot guy? I waited 40 years for him. I was alone for a lot of those. That high metabolism? Yeah, a lot of it came from my mama, but hours a day of exercise certainly isn't hurting.

So "easy" is all relative here. My life is "easy" because I make it that way. I work hard for what I want and when I get it, I appreciate the hell out of it. I refuse to join in our society's competition to see who can be busier, more stressed and more exhausted. We've gotten in this bad habit as humans to look at where someone else is and forget what they might have been through to get there.

Case in point- Marji Gesick 100. Here's the picture most people saw:
Photo- Ryan Stephens
 The elation of finishing. The fun part. What I got out of 7 months of training.

Here's the picture not nearly as many people saw:
Photo- Stacie Maynard Poquette

Let me tell you about this picture. I'm walking through Jackson Mine Park with 15 miles to go. Since I'd run the 50 the year before I knew about what time I needed to be here to finish under 30 hours and be the first person to get a buckle. I'd been on pace to do that for close to 24 hours, but about an hour before Stacie took this picture I realized I'd fallen off the pace quite quickly. My mind wanted more than anything to run, but every time it tried to relay that message to my body, my body gave it the finger. This picture captured my lowest moment. The one when I wondered how the hell I was going to finish this thing. After she took this picture, I walked around the corner to Super Kate, said, "I need to get my shit together", sat down in a lawn chair and stuffed my face with mashed potatoes. Somehow, fueled by cheesy mashed potatoes and some motivation from Kate (and the support all along from countless other people), I got off my butt and made it to that last picture and the amazing feeling that came with it.

Behind one picture that showed a moment of pure joy, were hours of suffering, a huge support crew and months of training. Judging just that one picture certainly doesn't give justice to all of that. Neither does judging someone just by the present moment of their life.  Saying, "It must be nice," or "So and so's life is so much harder than yours," completely negates how much work they might have put in to get where they are.

So let's all just stop. Let's stop competing to have the harder life. Let's stop assuming anyone has it "easier" than us. The next time we see someone who has something we want, instead of saying, "It must be nice," let's stop and ask their story. When we listen to it, we might just learn how to get the sweet life they have, instead of living the rest of our lives wishing we could have it.

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