“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.” – Cheryl Strayed
I probably love this quote so much because it’s a damn hard thing for me to do & one I have to remind myself of constantly: TACKLE. RISK. TAKE CHANCES. LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
It’s so hard, in fact, that I purposely have to sort of stage situations for myself that promote risk-taking. It’s easier for me to just throw myself into a scenario that ensures I will be uncomfortable than ease in methodically, one toe at a time. It’s almost like I won’t notice my awkwardness, my fear, my self-consciousness if situation is inescapable. Moving to Japan right out of college, not knowing a soul, not speaking the language, not knowing how to navigate my life there: PERFECT! Absolute built-in certainty that I would have to take risks on a daily basis.
After my son was born, I immediately made it a goal to run a marathon within his first year. Signing up for the race was a built-in mechanism that pushed me, without me really realizing it. I needed to get out of the comfort zone of thinking “oh well I will get back in running shape at some point…”, nail down a goal & stick to it. I crossed that finish line and bee-lined it to the recovery area to nurse my baby. (sayonara comfort zone!)
After struggling with a serious eating disorder throughout my 20s, I went on to have a healthy pregnancy, healthy baby and have enjoyed renewed health and fitness – treasures I was told I would never have due to the damage I had inflicted on my body. One of the ways I “tested” myself in the body-image & body-acceptance area was volunteering to model nude for a sculptor who needed to finish up her piece of a ballet dancer. To this day, I cannot tell you what prompted me to answer that ad. Once again, it was planned risk. There I was, meeting for coffee with this artist who was seeking an athletic female to pose for her. And then there I was, in her studio the first time, so incredibly nervous that I had to pause mid-session and go throw up! She needed to finish the lines of the dancer’s calf muscle, the curve of her neck, the arch of her foot. In the end, it was a monumentally nourishing, self-affirming process. I gained so much appreciation for the gift of my healthy human body.
This Fall, I have set some running and nutrition goals for myself that feel uncomfortable. As they should! This is how I do! Without that discomfort – that edge – it is really not a goal to me. It’s not a reach. Feeling the hum of nervous excitement is a good thing.
1. Run a “fast” marathon. Now, “fast” is relative, as I am not a naturally fast runner. My marathon PR is nothing to write home about. I would like for that to change. Qualifying for Boston, with a nice cushion, is a sweet out-of-comfort-zone running goal for 2015.
2. Maintain my no-sugar, no-processed food, no-crap eating plan. Of course there will be times I will let this slide, as I don’t do well with strict deprivation, but the overall plan has improved my life SO MUCH that I am not willing to give it up. The benefits have been huge. I truly believe each body is different and we all have uniquely individual needs. For me, life without sugar is similar to life without alcohol. I relied for soooo many years on candy & coffee to get me through my days and give me those boosts of (fake) energy. The steady, even, reliable fuel I am giving my body these days is so comforting. Not only that, I sleep like a baby, my skin has cleared up so much that I don’t use my prescription cortisone ointment for eczema anymore, and I have cut my anti-depressant medication in half. Minor miracles. I only expect these improvements to continue. (Oh – and I think I am a nicer, more patient mama. But you would have to verify with my 14 yr old 😉 )
To bold risks! Planned or not, they set the stage for dramatic transformation. ❤