For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – Real Life.
But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first,
some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid.
At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
This perspective has helped me to see there is no way to happiness.
Happiness is the way.
So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is a journey, not a destination!
Alfred D. Souza
In this case, the “something” part of “30 something” currently means three days. Though, in many ways, it’s really the remarkable fact that it’s been 130 days since I almost lost the chance to even be 30 at all that I really celebrated on July 28th. I won’t claim that I celebrate it every day; I have not been transformed into the kind of person who rolls out of bed and proclaims my joy at simply breathing on that very day. But I think actually being faced with the sort of obstacle Souza talks about just as I felt my “real life” was about to begin has forced me to rethink things in the same way that Souza had to rethink things. I had finally reached my goal of winning an Ironman. I felt that I had “arrived” as a pro. Now that I was “here,” things would actually “start.” And in some ways, things seemed to be following that pattern. Abu Dhabi was a world class field, and I had not by best race but still a race that was good enough to be competitive.
I was – on that March day – executing the kind of ride that was appropriate for someone who had “arrived.” But then, instead of the “real life” that I had planned on happening then happening, real – not quote-unquote real – life actually happened. Which means that something totally unexpected happened. For a long time – and still on some days – I felt that this was not the way that things were supposed to be. The debts had been paid. Time had been served. There was no unfinished business. And of course, now there are debts to be paid. More time was served, but there’s still more time be served. And there is definitely unfinished business.
And I think it’s finally started to dawn on me that this is life. Hopefully not so dramatic always, but that in general life this is what life is like. In the past year, since my 29th birthday, I won two Ironmans, got married, flew literally halfway around the globe for my first really international pro race, almost bought a house (several times), and had some other smaller personal challenges that now seem not quite so bad. Oh yeah, I also almost – almost – died. I’m hoping that in the next year, I can avoid the same amount of drama. But maybe I won’t. Maybe I can’t. Or maybe I will. And maybe I can. There’s no way to know. And that’s life. Welcome to the journey. Don’t forget to pack your moose hat…