Last week, a speedy age-group athlete asked me why I hadn’t been racing much.
I’ve been thinking about my answer. What was said, and what was unsaid.
Here’s what I said,
“You have to remember that I was far better than I expected to be.”
The peace I feel with regard to sport is something that I didn’t expect.
Part of the serenity comes from the experience of giving my absolute best for many years.
Another part is understanding what was required to exceed my expectations, and realizing that’s not advisable.
I have been thinking about my attitude of “better than expected” for YEARS.
I’ve noticed it is spreading into other areas of my life.
- My marriage… better than expected
- My kids… better than expected
- My day… better than expected
- My life situation… better than expected
- My health… better than expected
Some of my serenity can be traced to a long-term campaign to jettison anything that stresses me. However, living with preschoolers is stressful and they don’t seem to be spilling into the rest of my experience anymore.
What was unsaid was the insanity of spending time, and a lot of money, reinforcing the worst aspects of my personality.
What do I mean?
At the edge, I discovered narcissism, sociopathy, isolation and a disregard for long-term health.
In addition to endurance competition, I have the potential to be very good at all of the above!
These attributes are everywhere in society. However, they are easily seen in people at the pinnacle of their fields (even narrow niches). Indeed, many champion athletes would see these traits as necessary, and desirable.
As a true believer, it was extremely valuable to lock onto athletics. It strengthened much of what’s good in me. It’s one of many paradoxes in my life.
I’ll end by paraphrasing a coach of mine…
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for someone is to give them the confidence to leave.
…and life has been far better than expected!
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