I was thinking yesterday while I trudged along jogging my pathetic 4.0 mph on the treadmill how fearless I used to feel when I was younger. How old and tired and lame I felt doing 4.0 mph...
(pretend this is a flash back moment complete with wavery screen like a TV show...)
I used to swim competitively which in and of itself may not make me fearless but I did a lot while swimming that might constitute fearlessness these days for me. We would run stairs and worse yet there was that college coach who made us hop up those stupid things. Is that even good for your body? I started lifting weights at the ripe age of 10. We also did medicine balls, surgical tubing (for stretching), swim benches/sleds, and I ran my ass off. This was JUST DRY LAND training.
USS practices included 4:30a workouts before school three days a week and every evening for two hours plus Saturdays for 2-3 hours. We had Christmas training or as we lovingly referred to as HELL WEEK. In college, the workout I most remember was 5x1650s for time... A 1650 you ask? - that is 66 laps, short course - that is 330 laps... I was a bit of sadist as was the college coach. Try doing that 5 times for time! She also liked to regularly torture us with NO BREATHERS. Ho boy - do you want to guess? It was either 25 yards (or we did 50 meters during Christmas training) of freestyle without taking a breath. She became even more sadistic over time and made us do 50 yds of this so that includes flip turn - all without O2... Also, if ONE person in the pool took a breath we started over. People would be sobbing by the end of this... YES, she is still a coach if you must know and no, I never quit, I just kept going.
I started swimming competitively when I was eight years old. I loved it. I never thought I would stop. Swimming was my little escape for 14 years, I swam competitively. I peaked around 11 years old but that did not stop me. I had chronic tendentious in my shoulder and my body now regularly aches because when I worked out I threw my entire self into the action.
After I finished swimming, I started running and lifting weights. I ran my ass off for a long time until around 2000 when I developed some major issues with, you guessed it, my SHOULDER (same one from swimming) and my neck. I used to run 5k races because that was what I could afford to enter and I was sort of really poor so I only ran a few with dreams of running 10k races or marathons. I never got that far. I used to run in every small town and big city I visited - on streets I did not know. I was fearless of what could potentially happen to me. I would just carry my Walkman (come on it was 90s...) - no pepper spray, no cell phone - nothing to protect me from the evil elements because as far as I knew there were not many out there who would think to touch me - I always figured if I looked angry or tough enough those elements would just stay away...
I used to do gymnastics, ballet, and I liked to ride my brother's skate board on the ramps in all of our neighbor's yards- I fell a lot, it hurt - I always got back on and did it again. I used to ride my bike all over the place - see above about doing this in places that I should have had a little more fear about. I used to ride horses - my favorite part of horse back riding was doing jump and dressage. I fell off a horse once and he nearly stepped on me. I got back on and kept going. I was not going to let that horse get the best of me! I stopped doing all of this in lieu of swimming.
I used to jump in the waves at the beaches in Santa Cruz & Santa Barbara and body surf and swim too far out. I have been in undertows that scared the shit out of me... I could not breath or find my way to the top. Eventually I always did and it never stopped me from doing it again and again...
I used to do the climbing wall in college and had hopes of climbing all of the world. I never got that far. This was also an expensive activity and I was poor so I stopped.
I started the process of joining the Peace Corp. I did the application and some of the process to doing this but I stopped moving forward with this process because I was a little scared (I had a friend who did it and ended up being taken out of the country she was in because two Peace Corp workers were shot to death...) and I had this dumb boyfriend who did not "approve" of my going.
I used to want to jump out of airplane and sky dive. I never did it - it was expensive and I was poor and perhaps a little scared (do you see some themes here... it is probably a good thing I did not have a lot of money!)
I did a lot to body through out my teens and 20s - I drank too much, partied hard (and walked home from more then one bar/party alone in the dark NOT sober), I drove too fast and I liked to head bang and occasionally I would jump into a mosh pit type atmosphere at the local college bar. I like loud, heavy metal music - it seemed to fit my often destructive behavior. I wanted to be one of the boys all 5 foot 2 & 110 lbs of me - I wanted to be fearless but now at 33 I can say I am not... was not...
(returning the present from the aforementioned wavery flash back moment... thought I forgot didn't you!)
I found myself pondering all of this as I trudged along yesterday - how I used to think I could do anything without harming my physical self. Now I trudge and ache and cannot sleep with a pillow because my neck/shoulder hurt so bad. I can barely run and I wake up and it takes me a long time to get out of bed. I am glad I did not do the Peace Corp, I am glad I did not jump out of that plane, and I am glad I stopped being so freakin' angry at the world. I drive like an older more mature woman now (whatever, so I drive like a grandmother, I feel safer, thank you very much!) The most rambunctious my music gets these days is Dave Matthews. In fact, I happened upon some "heavy metal" music the other day and I was actually ANNOYED by it!
I am happier person because I am no longer feel so fearless, or angry. I still dream of doing things I used to do like running, or riding horses and even I sometimes consider rock climbing and swimming. And if I could get near a beach, I would totally body surf and swim out too far because I miss that activity, the beaches more than any thing in the wide world!
I am sure I will do these things again when I find the time and passion but for now I am just glad I am who I am today. Even with all of my aches and pains. I have grown up, calmed down, and I have Matthew to think of every day.
I have this magnet at my desk at work and it simply says EPIPHANY. This is basically what I had on this subject yesterday - I realized that this is a new chapter in my life - that I can be both fearless and fearful. I can still do things I like but I do not need to hurt myself to do them. That a little fear and fearlessness mixed in is so much better than no fear at all. SO I will continue to trudge along at 4.0 mph with a smile on my face.