When I Grow Up…

When I Grow Up…

I had (am having? am always having and will always have?) questions about why I’m doing this Ironman thing, what I’m doing with my life, who I want to be when I grow up, how I want people to know me…basically, I feel like I’m living in a constant identity crisis. And I think that’s pretty normal.

As we grow up, we’re always asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

When we’re little, grownups find it hilarious for us to reply, “Astronaut! Princess! A rock!”

As we get a little older, it’s far less lovable to not have a straightforward, realistic, well-defined response. We’re expected to plan for college, then pick a college based on whatever this mystical future path should be, then major in what will take us there, then magically graduate and be a responsible whatever-we-were-aiming-to-be, pay bills, be an adult and…then what?

Dudes. That is A LOT of pressure. I had zero clue what I wanted to do with my life. I still have zero clue what I want to do with my life. If I knew my current self back when I was making these all-important decisions, I would have chosen a completely different path than what I’m on now. I would have studied nutrition and fitness, and found a career that allowed me to help people. But if I had started on that path back then, before I had the experiences that make me who I am today, who would I be now? Would parallel-universe-future-current-me be asking the same questions, wondering the same things? Would I be a triathlete? Would I have met my amazing husband? Would I have these amazing friends surrounding me?

I’ll never know, and the more I dig into it, the less I want to know. But the questions still plague me. I don’t have a job where I necessarily help others and make positive, lasting contributions to the world. I help sell fancy dirt cats shit in. But I like to think I make others smile each day, that I make this sometimes-stressful job more enjoyable for my teammates (who certainly do the same for me), and have FUN while creating work that might even hopefully someday, somewhere make some random cat-loving stranger smile.

And when I question why I devote so many hours to training for something as insane as an Ironman, it kinds of depresses me…because the answer is, if I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably just be sitting on the couch, letting my depression and anxiety rule my life even more than it does now. Training motivates me, drives me, compels me. I need SOMETHING to. I’m so good at being lazy.

I feel like such a fraud sometimes. I am SO GOOD at pretending to be things that I’m not, that I end up confused about who I really am. My natural tendency is to believe the worst of myself. When people praise my hard work and dedication, my brain is laughing and saying, “You should see her lazy ass in the off season. What a joke!” When someone compliments my physical progress, my brain ignores it and says, “You haven’t seen this body unclothed. You wouldn’t be so impressed then.” And when my coach or trainer tries to point out how far I’ve come, my brain is quick to chime in with, “So what? You have so far to go to even be considered halfway decent, and you’re just going to go back to being terrible in a few months anyway.”

So what do I want to be when I grow up? I really have no idea, but here are a few starters:
– I want to appreciate myself, my talents and my abilities for what they truly are, and not as a (lacking) comparison to anything else.
– I want to be more naturally positive and happy, and to not have to work so consciously hard at being these things.
– I want to be a person people look forward to being around. I want to be easy to support and love.
– And some days, I just want to be a rock. And that’s OK, too.

One Reply to “When I Grow Up…”

  1. Wow! This blog post just resonates for me. You are such a talented writer and you make me thing that I am not insane for reaching the job level I worked so hard to get at and then … not being happy at all. I need to change something — your words give me the courage to think more clearly about the future. Thank you!

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