Monday, August 20, 2012
Sometimes things don't work out the way you expect them to. Or really really wanted them to. I think one of the bigger indications of your success or failure in life, and certainly your level of enjoyment, is reflected in how you roll with it when things don't go your way. Because let's face it - that reality marks almost every day. Anytime you are late for work, your child turns up sick, the dog dumped the trash over or you burn your casserole - you face the fact that you are in control of only one thing in this life - your attitude. And sadly, every so often, you face things that are more than a minor annoyance and verge on being major disappointment or in extreme cases - utter heartbreak.
Athletes face this all the time - spend 6 months preparing for the big race and turn up injured or ill right before the event. Weather happens and your flight to the race location is canceled. A big emergency with yourself or traveling partner can ground your adventure too, and those are just a few examples. I can't tell you how many races I've registered for and events I've planned and DNS'd. How many have you?
I am thinking about this because I was supposed to be packing for Las Vegas today. I've never been there and I was excited to stay in a cheeseball hotel on the Strip, see a glitzy show or two, hit a few buffets and more importantly climb a couple of big ass mountains with my best adventuring pal. I see these beautiful pictures all the time from distant friends or family who are enjoying the altitude, and breathtaking scenery on the other side of the Continental Divide. And finally it was going to be me up there, seeing the world from the top of a real big boy high peak. Except I am not going.
It reminded me - a few weeks ago my virtual pal Ewa was happily making her way along the John Muir Trail, she was feeling good and in the middle of her 230 mile thru-hike. And then circumstances pulled her off the trail. She didn't respond to this failed attempt (which she worked so hard to get ready for) by moping around like a sad sack of potatoes. She simply planned a new adventure. So how do you respond to disappointment? Honestly - it's never been my strong suit. I'm kind of a whiner and notorious for throwing sassy tantrums when I don't have everything my way. But over the years I've learned to adapt and am improving at this aspect of life. My happiness now hinges on my ability to say: "This is my life right now- these are my kids, my husband, abilities, circumstances, job. And it's okay. Where I am right now is okay." I am not going to climb a 12,000 foot mountain this week. But that mountain is not going to grow legs and walk away. I will get to that mountain another time. It's okay.
And I am doing what I often do when athletic pursuits fail - schedule another one. Just like Ewa. So as a consolation prize we are going to do a 30 mile kick ass second chance birthday hike to celebrate my pal's special day, and there is a fatass run this weekend that I can actually participate in since my legs won't be hammered by the 22 miles of steep climbing and descending in Vegas. There's always a silver lining. And if there isn't - you simply sew your own.
It's trite, but when life hands you lemonade, make a lemon cheesecake or fruity drink with it. Okay, I'll concede that you can have one day to mope when things really fall apart, but after that - pick yourself up and find a way to move on. Your happiness and sanity depend on it.