I'm not afraid
Of anything in this world
There's nothing you can throw at me
That I haven't already heard
- U2 "Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out of"
Well, as of a few months ago, it became official. My oldest son is an adult. He landed a full time job at News 10, our local ABC affiliate, writing the news. This made this nervous mama thrilled, as ever since the day he announced he was changing his major to English, with no desire to go into teaching, I had serious concerns over what he would do with said degree. Then he discovered journalism. His love of writing has landed him an amazing first job. As part of his job, he often has to man the tip line at the station, and I love having deep conversation with him about what people call the news for. My emergency medicine background means he is rarely able to surprise me with what people put out there. That is, until this week. He told me about a dog who was found by a UPS driver chained outside. She had a large tumor on her left shoulder and had literally chewed her own front paw off. Doctors had found bones in her belly proving this was the case. They had felt she did this to escape the pain of the tumor they were certain was cancerous.
I'm just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company
Cancer. That right there is such an ugly word. One of my best friends was handed this ugly diagnosis in the last couple of weeks. Those of us in his circle are trying to make sense of it all and be "OK" with it. The fact is, it has pushed all of us to consider our place in this life and how things can absolutely turn on a dime.
I never thought you were a fool
But darling look at you
You gotta stand up straight
Carry your own weight
These tears are going nowhere baby
For me personally, it came down to owning my own shit. I had to rat myself out that my training was lack luster. Five years into my fitness journey, exercise had become a box that I checked off. It honestly was more routine than challenge. I was doing enough to be equipped to race, sure, but I looked at my race times as well as previous recorded challenges at my gym and realized I had not gotten any faster. I was lifting heavier for sure, but weights are something I like. I had stalled out in the things that were harder for me, like running. I had lost the focus of it all and just checked the box. I took more rest days than I cared to admit with a million reasons why..... I work 12 hour shifts, I'm on the road and the equipment sucks, I am not a morning person, so early workouts suck, working out only at home is fine. It's still 3-4 days a week. Yeah, no. This was all an ever snowballing pile of bullshit and I knew it. My drive of the early days had faded, and the excuses as much a part of me as one of my legs.
In was unconscious , half asleep
The water is warm 'til you discover how deep
You've got to get yourself together
You've got stuck in a moment
And you can't get out of it
I was stuck. Just like the chained up dog with the ever snowballing tumor. Wading in the comfort of the warm water, not recognizing I was drowning. With my 50th birthday approaching, and my friend diagnosed with cancer it was time. I ratted myself out to my accountability partner and recommitted to what I started out to do, to become the best version of myself. We are now 24 days into the month, ten days past my 50th, and I have worked out 22 times. Many of those times I went from a one hour OrangeTheory class to the regular gym to wean up using the stepper, as I have a mountain race on the horizon. I have shown up for myself and pushed the limits of what I can do. I learned some important things along the way. I learned I really can get up at 5:30 and go to the gym and still work a 12 hour day without something awful happening. It just takes a round of coffee and angry music to get there in the morning and relinquishing my night owl ways. I learned I can run faster, I just have to run faster, and today? Today, I fearfully allowed my accountability partner to dictate my work out. That way I was sure to be out of my comfort zone. So, 45 mins on the stepper after a full hour at OrangeTheory it was. It sucked but when I got it done, I felt like I could do anything. A feeling that has faded a bit in recent months. As it turns out, the simple act of showing up for myself has brought my mojo back.
It's just a moment
This time will pass
I have a hard time not being a little uptight about lost time, but the reality is our own complacency sets in slowly like that slow growing tumor on the now famous German shepherd until one day you find your ever expanding excuse laden comfort zone is not a truly useful appendage, but a big ugly tumor that clearly needs to go. Maybe the trick is to recognize when we are stuck in the moment and ruthlessly cut off those things that cause us pain and stunt our progress, be it toxic people, bullshit excuses or other perceived obstacles. Only then will we truly find a new direction. I saw the dog on the news again today. She has had the tumor removed, which ended up being benign, and proudly prances around on three legs with a whole new spirit, not seeming to miss her fourth leg at all. She is off to her forever home where I have no doubt, like me, she will see the best is yet to come.