Anyone who is a fan of the Santa Clause Christmas movies with Tim Allen will remember the scene in the first movie when Tim Allen's character, Scott Calvin (who has become Santa Claus) and his son are in the dining room at Thanksgiving, and Scott has morphed into Santa, but he can't see it, can't believe it. His hair has turned white, he's grown a long beard that comes back immediately when he tries to shave it, kids are approaching him randomly on the street, telling him what they want for Christmas. He's wearing a big, Santa-like Nordic, red, knitted sweater and hat, and his 8 year old son Charlie, who is not in denial about his father's real and true and new identity, tosses him a magic snow globe to look into, in a last ditch, exasperated effort for him to remember. And it works! He peers in, and he can see the magic scene come to life, and he remembers...
Recently, my WHY kind of became like that magic snow globe.
So, I have been thinking a lot about my WHY, lately. One of the things that I learned about pretty quickly when I entered the fitness world was this idea of your WHY. What's your WHY? At first, it was actually very easy to answer:
Why am I doing this? To lose weight before I turn 50.
Then: Why am I doing this? Because I feel better. I am losing weight. I couldn't do a push up on my knees, now I can do a few in a row on my knees. I ran a 5K for the first time in 20+ years, and I was almost beat by a beagle in an elf costume, but I pulled in front of him at the end.
Why am I doing this? Oh, I want to do push ups on my feet, not on my knees. I want to smoke that little beagle next year (no harm intended). . . I want to run faster. I want to do a pull up. I want to run a Spartan Race.
Why? I want to do pull ups, as in many. (I want to stand on a podium--said in a whisper and only to my coach.)
But then, my once dormant, competitive nature came to the surface. And so did the comparisons on social media. Then came some plateaus, and some injuries, and my clarity blurred. During these times, trying to find my WHY was like trying to look for my glasses without my glasses on. Like many things in life, I thought once I had my WHY, it wouldn't change--it was set and would be right there in front of me. But I couldn't find it. And I couldn't find it because I was looking for something that looked different now. I didn't know it at first, but it was suppose to look different. It was suppose to grow and change, because I was growing and changing.
Every phase of a why matters in any venture you're on--the phase when it's easy and clear and simple; the phase when you can't find it anywhere but you still know you're on the right track; and the phase when it pops up again but it looks totally different and you have to dig in even further. If it's right, it's dynamic: life is dynamic, business is dynamic, relationships are dynamic, pursuits are dynamic. If it's static, sitting there, never changing--it may likely be over; it may have run its course.
My WHY took off for awhile, but when I asked for it last weekend, Why am I doing all of this, it showed back up on my doorstep. It kind of handed me a magic snow globe, and when I peered in, it was loaded for bear. Floating around in there was a series of memories reminding me that this is who I am, this is what I do, this is how I learn:
Remember when you were 6, and 7, and 8, and 9, and 10 and 11? Remember how you would climb your hill and pretend you were climbing mountains? Remember going down to the park to climb the big hill?
Remember being obsessed with Wide World of Sports?
Remember working that little paper route with Kristi (my best friend across the alley) when you were 10 to save money to buy a crash mat to practice gymnastics? So you could go to the Olympics?
Remember finally getting the courage to join the Cross Country team as a junior? Remember being DEAD LAST every workout, every JV race, and just wanting more? Remember running all that winter, and spring, and summer, and then that first team workout in August when you ran right behind the varsity girls? Remember how hard you worked to stay up towards the top of JV that season?
Remember watching Joan Benoit in 1984 in the first women's Olympic marathon? Remember thinking "what would it take to be able to do that?" Remember the next year running The Bix and seeing her when you weren't yet half way through the race and she was looping back towards the finish? Remember how thrilling that was?
Remember not missing a TC Marathon for 25 years? Why did you show up every year? What did you want to see? What did you want to feel?
Remember writing? When you were little? When you were a teenager? When you were in your 20's?
Diane, do you remember being in your 30's and 40's and trying to push all that down but you just kept thinking about it anyway? Wondering if there was a way back? It's because This is YOU. This is What YOU Do. This is How YOU Learn.
I had NEVER considered that I might be an athlete. I wasn't encouraged to do athletics. Everything I did seemed random, and four years ago I didn't think I wanted to do anything but lose weight. I have never considered being a writer. I don't think I was ready to see it before this. And I wasn't yet able to see past other people's stories to accept that mine is not a running career like theirs, and yet it's still valid. And that every writer is unique.
So, once again, Why am I doing this? I'm doing this to get stronger. I'm doing this to get faster. I'm doing this to crash through my limits. I'm doing this to see how far I can go. In every direction in my life. I'm doing this to feel alive. I'm doing this because age doesn't matter, it just makes it interesting. I'm doing this to show that you follow those things that present themselves to you, no matter how much sense they make, or don't make, because they will tell you your story. They will tell you who you are. They are the tools for creating an even better you, a more fulfilled you, a peaceful you. You will learn how to rest. You will learn how to fight. You will learn how to dig deep. You will learn how to back off. You will learn perspective. You will reap all the rewards of investing in yourself (and so will those around you). You will be softer, and harder, and love more easily.
You will lose yourself in it. And you will remember who you are.