I had a dream last week.
In the dream I was talking to Jennifer and she was saying how proud she was of me for doing the 100 mile race. I told her that I gave it everything I had and was happy that I could finish it, but I felt beat to shreds. She laughed and said “Yeah … it looks like you are in this picture”. The picture she was holding was of me after I had finished the race. I was sitting on a rock looking at the camera. I was wearing an earth colored tank top and a hydration pack. I was leaning over looking straight ahead. I was thin. I had defined arms and shoulders (which I already do but the belly over shadows it). I was wearing a truckers hat with “Fat Slow Triathlete” on the front. My hair was long, to my shoulders, and my beard was long as well (longer than it is now). I was wearing sunglasses. I was haggard looking, lines of dirt and sweat creasing my face.
And, I was smiling.
When I woke up I was wondering all that day if that was, truly, how I wanted to look, how I wanted to “be”.
The answer is “yes”.
That is how I see myself inside, and it is the image I’d choose to portray if given the chance. I am not comfortable in collared shirts and slacks, sitting at a desk. I am good at what I do for work, but if I could do anything I wanted to do, would this be the life I chose for myself?
No. It isn’t.
My life has been about doing things in order to either please someone else, or provide for someone else. I started in college after the Navy in pursuit of something I wanted to do; forensic psychologist in the FBI. I got my BA in Psychology and applied, and made it through 3 interviews before being dropped. I still could have went after the forensic side, but I needed to provide for my family, so I got my Masters in Public Administration, and when that proved to not pay enough I went after and got my MBA. This has done little for me, except put me in debt that will never be paid in my lifetime. To be very honest, what I do for work right now I could have done after leaving the Navy with no further training. This work is easy for me. Numbers and Stats, finding root causes, etc. is easy for me. I didn’t need those degrees except to separate me from the other people applying.
So, here I am at 53. Still not doing what I want to do, and feeling tethered to a life I didn’t want and don’t enjoy.
The man in the dream picture. That is what I want.
I have survived cancer. I fight every day with psoriatic arthritis, and plantar fasciitis, trying their damnedest to keep me on the sideline. I have NO interest in pursuing a relationship, mostly because I will not allow it to interfere with my current aspirations. I am tired of giving everything I have to people and it be thrown back in my face as if I never meant anything to them. I have no time or patience for someone saying to me “if you have to train every night and on the weekends when is there time for meeeeee????”
I am sorry. If you cannot be part of it, or support it, then I have no need for you in my life.
I was talking online to a client/friend today who said “you can come up here anytime to kayak, hike, etc.” Another client/friend has invited me to Boston several times to hang for a weekend, training or not. I wish I could do it. I just can’t afford it. And there’s the rub. As Rob reminded me, we work hard on jobs we hate to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t like. I was commenting to Jennifer over lunch yesterday that I just don’t have the need or want to spend time with people I don’t like or get along with just to satisfy some bullshit notion of networking. It’s NOT that I don’t like people or can’t talk to people. I talk to people in stores, in the gym, etc. all the time. I genuinely like talking to people. I could talk to Rob, or Randy, or Dave, or my brother Mike or sister Kristi all night. I could talk to Jennifer for hours. I can ride along at 15 mph and have long conversations with Jay or Michael. But if I don’t like you, or you treat me as if you are better, smarter, better looking, than me …. I am not wasting my time on you.
I have done someone else for 53 years. It’s about time I did me.
Does that make me a bad person?