Hello, friends. Last year, 2017, was a hard year. It was hard in general for much of the world, but it was also hard for me personally. You might have noticed that I didn’t post much last year, and there was a reason for that. I was struggling. I was struggling at work, struggling with the dating world, struggling to exercise, struggling with turning 35. It took me time and active effort to pull myself out of that place. I fought to find myself a new job, and succeeded. I fought to get back into exercise by joining a learn to run program at the running room, and had a great time; unfortunately that ended when I had a bike accident. I slowly and surely got better and happier, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what had caused the slump, and what I could do to improve my circumstances.
I realized during this time that a cornerstone of my happiness is to have something to work towards. When I have something to strive for, it motivates me. When I have nothing to strive for, I become complacent and bored. Last year, my focus was primarily on finding a new job, so I strove for that. I created a support group among some friends at my office, and by the time I left, half of us had new jobs. But, in other aspects of my life, I was less motivated.
While I continued to bike every day, because biking is like breathing for me, I wasn’t motivated to do any other kind of exercise. In December, I expressed to my frequent fitness and health buddy, DeNeige, that while I felt good, overall, with my new job and other changes in my life, I still didn’t feel up to exercising. I wasn’t eating particularly well at the time either, which certainly didn’t help matters. My year of emotional struggle showed on my body. I told her “maybe I’ll try in the new year”. She responded by suggesting that I sign up for another triathlon, because the last time that was very motivating for me. Instantly, I knew she was right, that was the answer. We were both pretty shocked at my immediate turnaround, but hey, sometimes you’ve gotta take motivation where you find it and hold on tight!
Right away, I went to the website of the Toronto Triathlon Festival, and learned that registration opened the very next day! It felt like kismet. That night, I went home and swam for the first time in ages. The next day, I registered for the tri. I didn’t want to give myself a chance to change my mind and chicken out. I knew that I needed this, I needed something to strive for. After registering, I began what I called ‘pre-training’ throughout the rest of December. I wasn’t sticking to a tight schedule, but I was getting back into the tri sports, and giving my body a chance to remember what that felt like.
For me, and I think many other people, a lack of something to strive for can contribute to feelings of listlessness and depression. The times in my life I have felt the most alive, energized and excited were those times I have been driven towards a goal. Once I signed up for the triathlon, I also contacted my cousin Nicole, who lent me her road bike for my first tri, to ask if she’d like to do the race with me. She suggested we do a different one to change it up a bit. I’d already registered for the first triathlon, so, now, I’m training for TWO triathlons!
I began training in earnest in January, and the effect that this new goal has had on me has been monumental. This winter, I have been meal prepping more successfully than I ever have before, typically preparing almost all of my week’s food on Sundays. I’m down twelve pounds, though the weightloss is not the goal, just a positive side benefit. Since I’ve been training in the mornings, at work I have higher energy levels throughout the day and am more able to focus. I also have become much more committed to bedtime, typically sleeping by 10:30 at the latest on weeknights. My training is my priority. Having something challenging to strive for has positively impacted all aspects of my life, and it feels incredible.
Life is no longer a struggle, life is mine to live.