February 11, 2013

I have a friend who makes me think. Those are good friends to have, ones who can jump-start your thought process…. that keeps you fresh, alive, on track. I like those friends who with a few simple words can get you to dig a little deeper within yourself and say…. what track am I on here?

“Just remember you are human.” Were the words that jump started my thoughts. We were talking about sport and then it began to morph…. but those words initially stopped me. Made me pause. On one hand those words allowed me a sigh of relief. On the other hand I reminded myself that my standards for myself are high.

I went on to explain, as it relates to sport my drive used to be… winning. This season especially… my drive comes from …. feeling like I need to earn this gift, this life that I have. I have my health right now and too many people don’t. I have been through and survived things 100% intact. Do I deserve that? I feel I need to earn it by crossing the ‘t’s and dotting all of the ‘i’s, and not wasting what I have been given.

I have an overwhelming need, desire, drive to use the platform I have been given to create positive change. I feel that is a tremendous gift and I aim to use it to the best of my ability. Not everyone gets to have that chance. I can’t waste it. My chosen fight has been cancer. I feel like when it comes to cancer the walls are closing in. New diagnoses daily in all of our lives. Our parents, relatives, friends. I feel that daily another teen dies. I don’t know how else to fight it except raise money for programs that help people through it…. and of course my kids at Teens Living With Cancer.

We are starting a new round of TLC Fit in another week or so…. and these kids become my life. I have the platform to fight for them. Each day that we fight I feel like we hold the walls back from closing in….. just a little longer.

My friend then reminded me that I need to make sure I am doing the things to make me happy. To not lose myself in the process of everything that I do. That…. was a good one.

I asked myself….. what makes you happy? The roles I get to play in other people’s lives makes me really happy. The journeys I get to see people take makes me really happy. As an example….. the kids I work with at Teens Living With Cancer. I get to watch them walk into TLC Fit a bit broken from the journey of cancer and treatment. 9 weeks later I get to watch them walk out a stronger person. I just give them the nudge. They do the work.

As a triathlon coach the journey is equally rewarding. I get to watch a young woman navigate her way through the professional ranks and take down the demons that stand in her way. Another one of my athletes halted her training to become a bone marrow donor, as she resumes this week it’s as if there is more purpose. I work with a new mom who is beautifully balancing motherhood, being a wife, a career as a teacher with Ironman training. I love watching her navigate and figure it all out and do so with incredible grace.

Working with people at the club … the same. There is nothing more amazing than watching someone step onto their mat for the first time. Or execute a standing climb for the first time. You just have to give people a little push sometimes and then they open themselves to possibility.

The journey that I love most of course…. is being a mother. For a long time I mourned only being able to have one child. Then I realized what a special child I have. To be part of his life is the best gift of all. He teaches me more than I teach him. To watch him grow and evolve as this beautiful human being….. that makes me happiest of all. It of course ties in with my role of being wife… one I am always certain I am not good at yet my husband assures me I am. I hope. I truly hope.

I get to do such cool things. I get to work with so many amazing people, on many levels. People……. people make me happy. Especially people who make me think.

The feel of the wind in my helmet, the feel of swimming through the ocean, and running down a dream, those abilities are gifts and the ability to do all of this makes me happy.

Sitting on the stairs outside on my back deck and looking at a world illuminated by beautiful white snow….. that’s what makes me happiest. The small moments. The quiet moments. Where you realize that we each sit here in our respective homes yet we share this whole world and we share this same sky. Yet at this moment right here the world stands still. And a friend is a phone call or a text, or an email away. Reminding you to stop and pause and look around you.

I am not the only one on this journey. I am not the only one who faces hardships, heartbreak, and loss that’s too great for words. When we share that with each other we lessen the burden. We know we are not alone whatever we are going through. We never have to be alone…. that’s the beauty of this thing called life. I don’t know how we would get through if we didn’t lean on one another in some way.

The hard parts of life are not meant to be carried alone. They are meant to be shared. No one is going to take on the weight on your shoulders….. but we can help hold the load. When we don’t share that load, that burden, it only gets heavier on our own shoulders. Sharing that load with others, and helping hold some of theirs….. makes me incredibly happy. It’s what we do when we are friends. It’s why we are here.

I love people who make me think, who stir my pot a bit. I love when that leads to conversation. I love when that leads pausing for a moment, looking around and saying…. yes… this is the path I need to be on right now.

Good friends that make me think….. that share their load too…. they make me happy.


One comment

  1. Thanks, Mary. I agree! I am a better person because of these thinking friends.

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