Today, I am 34 years young. (I know, most you of thought I was older than that. Thanks??? :))
For the first time in my life, my birthday seems very joyful and hopeful and happy. Yes, for the first time. I am certain as a child, I experienced birthdays that were wonderful. But since I can remember, I was always on this super-fast journey wanting more: gimme more cake! gimme more shoes! jewelry! presents! money! Whatever. Birthday was about things. Not about the celebration of life – the celebration of my life, for one day.
I never gave thought to waking up on my birthday and saying to myself, Yay! I’m glad YOU were born, Mere.
Today, I am glad I was born.
[And I am also glad for this cake. Mmmmm. Thanks, Expert!]
This morning as I drove into work, I gave some serious thought on all the ways I have changed in the last decade. How turning 24 was so much different than 34. And the funny thing is, I am happier now than I was at 34. (Well of course, I am. At 24, I was in first semester of law school. Eeek. No comparison, really).
So in the spirit of change and moving forward and carrying on… here’s a little birthday post.
[Oh, and here’s a promo code for today and tomorrow for 10% off ANYTHING at Swim Bike Sell! Use code “SBMBirthday” at checkout for 10% off anything- YES, that includes Round Two orders of the 2014 SBM triathlon gear!]
Oprah always has these things she “knows for sure.” These are 34 Things that I THINK I Know (For Sure)… gotta love my faux certainty!
34 Things I Think I Know (For Sure):
1) Getting started always sucks. Making the decision to change your life is the first step to changing anything. And getting started—acting on that change—always sucks. But do it anyway.
2) The more time I spend on what others think of me is directly proportional to how happy (or how miserable) I am. At my core, I am very sensitive. I get my feelings hurt easily. And I care way too much about what others think. Taking some time this year to not worry so much about them—and worry more about me—has been life-changing. Sometimes this lesson was forced upon me through this blog, and that’s okay as well.
3) Sometimes “goodbye” is a good thing. Some people in your life are toxic. Some obviously toxic. Others not so much. I have experienced the super toxic where I finally block the Facebook and delete the phone numbers… but then there are others. Others who were “good for me” on the surface, but who really weren’t— for a wide range of reasons. Either way, cutting the cord can be wonderful… even if it results in a massive bleed-out for a time being. That’s why you have friends to throw kitty litter on the bleed. (Wait? Kitty litter isn’t for bleeding… what’s that for? A gasoline spill? Bad analogy. Moving on).
4) I am worth it. Worth what? Worth it. Worth taking time for myself, taking care of myself, and keeping some things just for me. Just worth it. Not much more to say to that. Moving on. And forward?
5) Moving forward is a necessity (not just a tag line). Just Keep Moving Forward is the SBM mantra, yes. The line helps me through races, but the idea carries further than that. Always go forward, don’t look back and worry about “what if”—just do the best to move forward. Regret is such a bloody waste of time. (Throw some kitty litter on your regret, while you’re at it!)
6) Risks are worth the reward. Ironman was a huge risk—on many levels. Physiologically, psychologically, and a great risk and struggle for my family. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
7) Risks are not worth the reward. Ironman was a huge risk—on many levels. Would it have been worth it…if I had lost my health, my mind or my family? Absolutely not. Weigh the risks carefully. Scary. I don’t want to think about that. Kitty litter…
8) Learning to ride a bike is incredibly frustrating. I think cycling might have the greatest learning curve. What an incredibly frustrating process to learn to ride a bike well. I mean, check out this blast from the past post—- I had NO idea how to ride a bike when this all started. All cycling did was teach me how to curse like a sailor.
9) Knowing how to ride a bike is an incredible sense of freedom. Once you learn to ride that bike… sometimes there’s nothing in the world like it.
10) Stop whining. Okay, I whine a lot. But nothing like having a four-year old daughter to realize just how terrible whining actually sounds. Man-oh-man.
11) Gratitude is everything. My problems are my problems. I recently have been able to stop comparing my life to the lives of others. Realizing that my problems are different, and often much less severe than those around me. I have been working on gratitude, and it helps.
12) In the short things that matter in this life, triathlon is not necessarily one of them. Triathlon is not everything. Triathlon should benefit your life—should supplement it—not take from it. Amen.
13) I am not a tree. Meaning, if I don’t like something, I can move my butt and pick a new place, job, hobby, kitchen color, etc… PS – You are also not a tree, in case you were wondering.
14) Being honest with my own struggles (in a very public way) has, in a sense, freed me. When I ask the right questions: “How will writing this make me feel” or “If I post this, will my writing possibly help someone – even if it embarrasses me” —these are the right questions. I embarrass myself frequently. And that’s okay, because in being honest with my struggles, I am able to feel more like myself–to feel authentic. The bonus is having so many of you say, “hey this post was written FOR me”–and knowing that we are all not alone in our struggles. [I guess I do worry that I embarrass my mom sometimes. But lucky for me, she’s accustomed to me.]
15) The children are watching. All the time. I have to watch my mouth. Like a lot. I am doing better. Those little buggers hear everything. And frequently repeat it at inopportune moments.
16) There’s a difference between being lazy and being smart. Taking a day off from a workout is not lazy. Recovery and rest is just as important as training.
17) The best things in life are not free. I learned that if I have no real “skin in the game,” I won’t reap the rewards. If I just wait for the free stuff and ride on coattails, I won’t experience some of the great risks and rewards. “But love is free,” you say. No, no it’s not. When you stick your heart out on the line, you’re paying a huge price. Think about the costs and rewards in your life. Which ones are worth the price? And which ones are not? If it costs you too much emotionally or financially — and your reward at the end of the day is crumpling into a ball on the floor in tears—get rid of it. No matter what/who it is.
18) Waiting for tomorrow is sometimes good. Everyone always says “start now” and “no time like the present.” Okay fine. But sometimes I think real calculated change may benefit from a start/end date. Just think about what personality type you are—are you a planner? Maybe a date-in-stone for an event (nutrition plan or registering for a race) is better for you.
19) Sometimes I am a stupid fool. And that’s okay. There’s a lesson to be learned each time. I have no real commentary on this one. It is what it is. 🙂
20) It never hurts to ask. I am often amazed by what this will reap. Some really great opportunities have been made available to me… just because I asked. Never hurts. To ask. (Now, the rejection might hurt…. but…)
Dear All3Sports and Quintana Roo,
I am asking for this.
Thank you in advance,
21) If I don’t stand up for what I want, I will never get it. In fact, I will never even have a chance to get it. See #30, below.
22) I am crazy. And that’s okay. People like to know that I’m nuts. I am here for the sole purpose of making everyone say, “Well, at least we’re not as screwed up as Meredith!” See? It works. Crazy is just the intersection of creativity and passion, is what I say.
23) There’s a difference between food and REAL food. I struggle in my relationship with food to the 1000th degree. I may always. I pray for balance and realizations and clarity with nutrition. But at the end of the day, we all have “our things.” My gross thing is how much I love food. And can eat a cookie like Cookie Monster and then look up, thinking, “Who did that?” But I have learned the difference between real food and not-so-real food.
24) My Expert and Swim Bike Kids are really cute. 🙂 Sorry, I just had to include that.
25) Things just don’t happen without some serious hard work. “But you’re so lucky,” I hear people say. Yes, I am. That goes back to #24. I am indeed very, very blessed. I also work my fool tail off. Things that are not mutual exclusive, but go hand in hand. If you show up more often, good things happen. If you respond to emails, opportunities arise. If you make big scary declaration and dreams, cool things may arise. Luck? Sure. But hard work is a big thing.
26) Slowing down is a good thing. I actually haven’t figured out how to slow down…but in the abstract, I can finally see that slowing down is okay too.
27) I am just fine, the way I am. It’s okay to want to be better. But meeting myself where I am is a big step to finding out what I really want. And learning how far I have really come.
28) My mind is capable of much more than my body. But interestingly, my mind controls my body. So in the end, if you get your head straight— you’ll be surprised how far you can drag your body before it stops.
29) Progress not perfection. I struggle and struggle with this. Probably always will. Still, I know that progress is the name of the game. Goes along with #justkeepmovingforward.
30) Being brave is absolutely ALL it’s cracked up to be. Standing on the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene on June 23rd this year required some brave that I wasn’t sure I could ever muster. But I did, man. It was the bravery of all braveries for this recovering fat kid turned chunky thirty-something. I will pat myself on my own back for this brave—-because it was HUGE for me. To dare to line up and say, “Yep, I’m gonna be an Ironman or die trying”—-I really have a hard time even articulating what that meant for someone “like me.” But I was brave. I was not just brave on race day—I was brave for the many, many months/years preceding it. And I was thankful on race day. And that Brave turned into Iron. So be brave. Why not? I know that’s a good thing.
31) Be nice. To everyone. I wasn’t always so nice… growing up AND in recent times. Through this forum, I have learned to really reach out and be kind to everyone. To try and accept everyone. I struggle with it. I’m a bossy little bratty child at my core, so I work hard at this. And I have learned some really hard lessons in the past few years about the cost of not being nice… and I do not want that kind of regret ever again. I know that for sure, it pays to just be nice.
32) I am not a tree. Yes, I know I already said this. But I know it to be exceptionally true. In the last few years, I have jumped jobs and homes and shoes… like I was a jumping bean. Because I knew that I was not happy—not even close—so I had to move. And I ran like I had ants in my pants. The end result? I am not a tree. And I am finally happy where I am. Maybe I’ll grow roots!?!? (Hmmmm…)
33) 140.6 miles is really far. #thatisall
34) Everything I need is right in front of me. I have stopped looking past my current life with some wild hope for some better future. This isn’t saying that I’m “settling” or “giving up” or not setting goals. I am simply learning the benefit of being me, happy where I am. I am learning to be thankful and love everything that is right here with me. Why that’s so hard to learn, I don’t know. But I have also learned that everyone has their own process, their own ugly faults to fight through… for me, it’s a struggle with kindness and gratefulness. For you, it may be something else. We’ve all got our own battles to fight. I’m just finally learning to slay my own dragons. I can’t be slaying everyone else’s too.
Thanks for listening. And making my 34th year even more special than I could have imagined. Three years ago, I didn’t have this remarkable community….and what a blessing the Swim Bike Mom community is. Thank you all!
Don’t forget – 10% off EVERYTHING at Swim Bike Sell today and tomorrow!
Promo Code: SBMBirthday