The Waiting

It has been quite a week…

Friday morning I got an email with news that I have been waiting for for about 15-17 years.

Now, truth be told the first 6-8 years was me waiting to turn 18 so that I could actually graduate from high school, attend college, and then start this dream.  But I still count those years because I knew back then that this is what I was meant to do.

The next 5 years or so I spent working through the educational requirements necessary to get to this point.

But then I was ready and there were no jobs, and no one could give me a chance, and I couldn’t find a way to demonstrate that this is where I’m supposed to be.  I started to second guess myself.

I wondered how I could have been so wrong for so many years about my purpose in life.

I wondered how I could have completely misread every sign or direction indicating the path that God had for me.

I wondered why God had given me such a strong passion for this field if this wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

I prayed that if this wasn’t the course God had for me that he would make it obvious.  That he would take away my desire for this course.  That I would discover something else I was passionate about, that I was also good at.

When none of that came, I doubted myself.  I doubted my faith.  I doubted my belief in God.

What kind of God lets you pursue something passionately with seemingly great success until the final moment and then rips it all away from you, leaving you with no purpose?

Why wouldn’t God reveal a new purpose for my life and give me something to be passionate about when I begged for it?

I asked myself those questions a lot, and since I was unemployed and essentially homeless except for my parents generosity I had a lot of time to sit and ponder those questions.  I couldn’t find an answer.  And then my 16-year-old cousin died in a horrible horrible tragic accident.

I still feel myself go numb when I think about how he died.  My hands and forearms tingle and I can hear the blood rushing in my head and I can’t bring myself to think about it beyond that point.

My cousin was a phenomenal athlete, he was passionate about going into medicine, he was funny, he was kind, and everyone in the tiny town he lived in knew that he loved Jesus.

I wondered how in the world I could be alive when I clearly had been wrong about the purpose of my life for so long and I didn’t know where God wanted me.  I didn’t feel useful and my sweet cousin who was only 16 and loved Jesus and was a shining example was lying in the ground.

As I’ve moved forward from all of that I’ve found myself feeling ambivalent about God.  I’m scared to turn away, but I’m scared to trust and I’ve been in limbo for a long time.

I have been trying hard over the last year to reformulate goals for my life without the main one I have always had.  I realized that I have been a sort of one-dimensional person and that I planned to use that path to fulfill everything.  I’ve focused a lot on what kind of person I want to be if that door is never opened.

I think the hardest part for me has been that as I’ve formulated  a plan for how I will serve and who I will reach and what I will do, I haven’t been able to move past the desire for the path that I’ve always wanted.

I’ve prayed hard for God to take that desire from me.  If that’s not his will then he should just take that desire.

But he hasn’t, and I’ve continued to struggle over the last year with that voice in the back of my head that reminds me of another course.

In December a door opened for the path I have always wanted to pursue.  In January, when my supervisor died, I found myself torn between thinking that I should stay where I am and that I was forging ahead trying to force something to happen and wondering what Frank would have done differently if he had known he was going to die the day after his 53 birthday.

Even as I’ve waited, and submitted forms, and waited some more I have been praying that if this isn’t God’s plan that he would prepare me for that, and that he would take away this desire.

I cried on the phone with my mom because I wanted to be able to get the news that this door was closed forever and say “It is well with my soul.”  But I couldn’t.  I knew if I got the news that this door was closed, I was still after all this waiting going to be absolutely crushed.

Then on Friday while I ran on the elliptical I got the word.

The answer was yes.

I jumped off the elliptical and literally ran through the lobby of my building so that I could call Homie to tell him the news.  I was pacing in circles in my tank top and shorts in front of the building and it was much too cold for those clothes, but I didn’t notice.

I cried in the shower wondering how I can even begin to thank God when I had stopped believing that he had a plan for me.

I wondered throughout the day if I would get some word that actually there was some sort of error or problem and that I actually didn’t get this position.  And maybe the moral of the story wouldn’t end with after waiting and struggling to trust these last 3 years it all paid off, but that actually the story would be that after waiting and struggling I got a yes but then some mistake had been made and I actually got a no.  Maybe my story would be how I responded to that last bit of devastation.

I sound paranoid.  Clearly Doubting Thomas has nothin on me.

Those thoughts ran through my head though.

I think it has just started over the last day or two to sink in that this is for real.  This is happening.  This is the course I will take.

In 11 days it will all be completely official.  In 17 days I leave for almost four months of training.

The whole entire wait is almost over.

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Fitness Goals for 2016

I have three main fitness goals for 2016.

Goal 1:  Bike 1,650 miles.

I’m planning to bike significantly more than that, but at the very least that’s my minimum goal.

Goal 2: Walk/run 365 miles.

Again, I’d like to do more miles by foot than that but at the very least that’s my goal.

Goal 3:  Get cut.

Period.  I realize that’s pretty broad, but at the end of the day I’m tired of not quite pushing myself to my maximum physically.  I don’t want to waste another year thinking that I could have pushed myself harder.  So this year I just want to kill it.  I want to maintain my current level of physical fitness while adding in other activities that I enjoy like kayaking.

I don’t want to be a baby about ab workouts.  Of course they hurt, that’s because I let myself be lazy and skip them.

I had a shoulder injury early in high school which was followed by a fractured foot my senior year that required 8 months in a boot and on crutches.  I had just lost the weight from that injury when I hurt my back.  Three years of limited activity followed.  Finally right around the start of 2014 I felt “normal” for the first time in a long time.   Cutting out dairy in 2014 also made me realize how horrible I felt every day.  2015 was the first year in about seven years* that I didn’t start the day every day with stomach pain that made me double over.

Last year I really made progress on losing weight that had been hanging around for five years.

I’m done having all of those injuries and that yo-yoing in the back of my mind though.

I like how I feel when I feel strong.  And at the end of the day, I just want to feel strong.

*Let’s not focus on the fact that it took me seven years to realize my symptoms weren’t normal.

#700by7 Update Week 1

I saw a couple of weeks ago that Erin from Living in Yellow was hosting a #700by7 challenge.

The goal is to complete 700 minutes of exercise between March 7 and April 7.

I’ve been doing a great job on two of my fitness goals for this year, but my third has been a little iffy.

I decided a challenge would be a great motivator.

Monday 3/7/16 I crushed it! I was so motivated!  I did both cardio and some strength training.  The ab workout I chose was hard enough that I was still sore on Wednesday.

 

Tuesday 3/8/16  I didn’t have time to do anything except bike because I had a doctor’s appointment.  I biked a total of 16.1 miles in 75 minutes plus I walked 2.2 miles in 36 minutes.

Wednesday 3/9/16 I biked a total of 22.1 miles in just under two hours.  And by just under I mean just.  Total time biking for the day was 1 hour, 59 minutes and 58 seconds.  I’ll take any amount of time when my view on the way home is this:

Wednesday

Thursday 3/10/16  I did the elliptical again followed by just a couple of minutes of core exercises.  I can’t remember what I did, I didn’t take a picture, and I apparently didn’t write it down other than to record 5 minutes.  I also failed to capture the distance on the elliptical and only got the total calories burned which isn’t really helpful.  But it’s something, it at least is a tangible reminder that I did get my butt in gear and do something.

Thursday

Friday 3/11/16 I had high hopes for my Friday workout.  The gym is usually empty which is nice because I can go much faster and I have more room to be a little creative.  I had a little mishap though called “I forgot to snap my travel mug shut and my coffee sloshed out every time I rode over a bump.”  Fortunately, my shorts & t-shirt to wear for my workout kept my journal, Passion Planner, book, purse, and folder of medical papers relatively dry. The shorts however were completely soaked, so I wimped out and didn’t do anything other than biking.  I biked a total of 16.1 miles in 79 minutes on Friday.  I also for the first time traveled home faster than I traveled to work.

Total minutes after Week 1 = 405.59

 

Monday Mantra

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Blue Skies Above Storm Clouds

Today’s Monday Mantra:

Focus On the Good

There is a lot going on right now.  One of the things up in the air is whether or not something I have wanted since I was about 10 years old will happen or not.

There have been enormous boulders to climb over on this path several times in the past few years.  I wish I could say I handled those times well, but I haven’t always.  The last major derailment in 2013 was almost more than I could handle.

This week isn’t my final chance, but truly is my second to last chance.  I will get an answer this week and if it’s no, then I will have one opportunity, one set of steps to appeal that decision and then the answer will be final.

I know I won’t receive an answer before the end of the day Tuesday, and maybe not until later in the week and I’m having a hard time not worrying or letting it consume my thoughts.

I want to be able to say that whatever the outcome I am content.  I really do.  I’m just having a hard time because as badly as I want to be able to say that, I’m not there.

For today, I just have to focus on the good.

 

When You Realize…

You’re not doing a terribly great job at being an adult.

Something crazy happened this past week and I was asked for some documentation about my degrees.  Easy.  Except that I can’t find my actual paper copy of my most recent degree.  I have my transcript but not the actual paper degree.  And they wanted a copy of the paper degree.

But what I did discover while searching (because I have a distinct memory of putting the paper back in the cardboard folder, then in an envelope and sticking it someplace “safe”) is that I apparently put my Staples rewards card which I have been looking for for 3 years in the fireproof lock box.

I guess because it says “permanent member card” my brain decided that those words gave it appropriate status to belong in the indestructible box.

My brain did not however, think that the title to my car is worth putting in the indestructible box because I found that in a manila folder in a plastic organizer on the bookcase in the hallway.

So even as I reflect on last year and my 2015 goals and all the progress I have made, I have encountered several similar things the last few weeks where I have been forced to face the fact that I’m not actually terribly on top of being a responsible adult.  I’ll just add that to the 2016 goals list.  Once I make the list that is.

Being Satisfied With Your Best

Last week I only rode my bike to the shuttle bus that runs between the metro station closest to where I live and the metro station closest to where I work on Monday and Tuesday instead of biking the whole way to work.

I had a pretty significant back injury 5 years ago that wasn’t treated until 4 years ago and resulted in finally having surgery 3 years ago.  The recovery from the surgery was a year-long process and it has only been since about March of this year that I have felt “good’ or “normal” all the time.

I’ve been carrying my clothes, lunch, purse, U-lock, and coffee in my backpack every day to and from work.  I had started noticing some pain in my back and I was worried about it, but choosing to ignore it.  When I took the week off at the beginning of September my back pain disappeared and I felt great.  I realized it must be the weight from my backpack every day.

Over the last few weeks the pain has increased enough that I’ve been paying attention on a daily basis.  So last week I opted to only ride 3.5-4 miles to the shuttle instead of biking the whole way.  I spent all day Monday and Tuesday morning beating myself up over it.  I was so discouraged and disappointed in myself for taking the bus instead of riding.

And then I read this: http://camillestyles.com/wellness/living-kindly/when-to-stop-apologizing/   It was exactly what I needed to hear.  Especially this

let’s move away from apologizing when we’re out there trying our hardest and focus more on what you accomplished.

I may not have biked the whole way to work, but last year at this time I didn’t bike to work at all and I had just started exercising regularly.  I only rode occasionally.  Two years ago I was only able to exercise in very controlled circumstances.  Three years ago I was still under very strict restrictions of movement which included no bending or twisting my torso at all for three months, no lifting more than 5 pounds, Vicodin every four hours, and Valium on top of that if needed.

I biked to the bus, worked all day, took the bus part way home, biked the rest, cooked dinner and did it all over again the next day.

The article reminded me that I’m allowed to be okay with doing my best, even if my best isn’t quite what I would like it to be.  It’s okay to be glad that I biked 3.5 miles each way instead of nothing.  It’s okay to be satisfied with doing what I can.

A New Addition

I started writing a status update on my current projects.  That got me thinking and even though I had come to the decision not to buy another bike right now I decided to check into what a brand new bike would cost for comparisons sake.

As I looked I found myself  disappointed because no one (that I could find or that wouldn’t be worth more than my car) is manufacturing a bike that is similar to my current bike, just new.

I was disappointed because I love my bike. So much. Too much.  I just want my current bike to be my fast bike.  I don’t really want to load it down with accessories for commuting/trips.

  
I fully recognize that there is something outrageous about not wanting to “load down” a 44 pound steel frame bike.  I get that.  But it feels fast to me.

I didn’t realize how ridiculously heavy my bike is until this summer.  A friend was working on it for me and he referred to my bike as “a tank” and mentioned that were I to get into a collision with a SmartCar my bike would win.

Since I haven’t been able to find a used bike for a reasonable price I decided I would just move forward with making some changes to my current bike to make it more suitable for commuting.

As I was pondering where I am in all my current endeavors, I decided just to take a look at what a new bike might cost.  When I found myself less than thrilled at what’s on the market I decided to take another peek at Craigslist in case there were any new posts that I might be interested in.

And then I saw it…

   
   
I knew we had to be friends and this bike needed to come be a part of my family. 

I’m so excited to work on it and get it decked out.  Homie and I have been tossing around the idea of doing a long ride Columbus Day weekend so I’m hoping I can get everything tweaked to ride this one. 

For now it’s in the living room where it belongs.