I rarely have felt fully prepared for a lot of the big milestones and challenges in my life. Whether it was the transition from school and stepping into “real” life when I graduated college, or giving a best man’s speech at a wedding, or completing a marathon, there was always a moment of pause and hesitancy right before that moment happened wondering how it will go. (I’m still feeling out this whole real life after school thing. I’m not sold on it just yet.)
What I do know, however, is that I work my way through it all on a daily basis.
I think about the fact that I’ve been challenged and stretched in my professional life in ways beyond what I never would have expected. On the days when I don’t think I can or want to handle it, I breathe for a second and take a step back to see the bigger picture and not get lost in the heat of the moment or the mounting pressure. I can’t quit now; there’s bigger things to tackle and accomplish down the road that I need and want to see through.
During my most recent marathon, I faced some physical challenges again around kilometer 25. (It was in Canada and the course was marked in km.) My calves in particular cramped up a bit, giving in to the cold weather and less than optimal training schedule I had leading up to the event. It could have been easy to beat myself up on the course or even give up, but I stretched out when I needed to even if it meant a slower pace and finish time. I came to run and to finish this race.
I am in it for the long haul.
There have been a lot of changes going on around me in my personal and professional life in this past year that have given me a number of reasons to pause and reflect. Some would choose to veer off onto new paths in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty, perhaps out of fear or not wanting to their hands dirty in the details. That’s not me, however. I’m often stubbornly loyal to organizations and people, especially when I’ve invested significant time and energy into them. Much like this past marathon, I at times feel like this is the part of the race where it’s hard to see the finish line while your leg cramps up distracting you from your goals. It’ll take a lot more than some aching muscles to change my course.