I have come to an end. And it made me cry this week. I am not a crier.
When my mother ill, I asked her, “Can you imagine anything worse than what you are experiencing right now?” I was looking for any silver lining possible. Her reply surprised me. She answered, without skipping a beat, “Of course. If any one of you six kids where in my place.” She strongly encouraged us to look at Cancer with a steady glare, and to prevent rather than treat.
My mother had a BRCA1 mutation. (Go ahead, look it up)
She died from ovarian cancer.
One of her last wishes what that all us children, be tested for the gene, so that we could prevent, rather than treat.
Well, I have an impending ending. When I was pregnant with Niva, I was finally ready to know what I already knew. I too am BRCA1 positive.
At the end of the month I will undergo a radical hysterectomy. It’s called radical, because there is nothing wrong. My uterus is gorgeous, and my ovaries, the same.
But, I know what this disease looks like, and I would be foolish to believe that I am invincible.
And, I have two daughters now, and I want to see them grow up (I’m crying now).
I have had surgeries. tonsils, knees, cervical spine, gallbladder. But this one is the toughest yet.
I hate saying b-bye to my reproductive system. A definitive ending to the possibility of bearing more children, and I don’t even want to have more kids. But the possibility, will be gone. It is also a beginning. Let’s focus on that and turn this frown upside down. Admittedly so, it’s going to be difficult to come up with the silver linings here.
It’s the beginning of no more tampons and pads. Win! It’s the beginning of menopause – I can let all my girlfriends know what this is like before they walk the desert of dryness and hot flashes. Talk about trailblazing! For real, I like to set an example. The is the beginning of prevention; an action that I hope my family and friends take note of. While I hate the thought of saying goodbye to my babies first home (more tears … and I am in Starbucks! = vulnerable) I can look at it as really focusing on the PRESENT and ensuring that their NOW HOME as he most comfortable and safe place possible. What a great goal to have. Now I have the Beatles "Hello Goodbye" in my head.
Hello peace of mind. Welcome.
Let’s lift a drink – to new beginnings all around.
Clink (that’s my Starbucks tea!)
Like it is - According to Vail
I was working with a student the other day and we got talking about what comes first, the chicken or the egg. She said, “I know the answer to that one. A circle has no end.” Yes!
There are so many examples in life that tell us that life is cyclical. The way the sun rises and sets. The way our breath moves in and out of our bodies. The way the seasons come and go, regenerating always.
However, we seem to sometimes resist the endings or at least resist what we consider to be an unhappy ending.
In the beginning of life, we live pretty cyclically or seasonally. We start the school year fresh and we end joyously. We are aware that certain things will end, but there will always be more, another adventure. When high school ends for many of us, college is the next beginning. After college or whenever “real” adult life starts, that is when the true challenge of beginnings and endings commences. There are no longer demarcations for what the next expanse of life will look like, what comes next.
For me, becoming an adult was hard! I began to really hate endings and goodbyes. Without the the promise or understanding of what would come next, I would feel a sense of despair. I cried when I quit my first job. It wasn’t because I loved my job, it was because it was the end and I didn’t know where I would begin again. I did begin again, half-way across the country. It was a fresh start. Part of that felt terrifying and part of it felt liberating.
So, as I trudged along as an adult, I began to notice the pattern. When I was open to life’s changing experience, there was always space for more, for new beginnings. As I changed jobs, lost friends and grew, new opportunities and beautiful souls would again enter my life. One of those souls, my roommate Nikki, would often say, “change is never easy but almost always good.”
Maybe endings aren’t as predictable as they were when I was young and are often times more gut-wrenching, but I try to remember that the ending has left space for something else. I may not know what that is when I am in the midst of goodbye but as we look back on our lives it seems like the endings come just at the right time for the next adventure to begin.
One of the quotes that grounds me into the certainty that endings are really just beginnings in disguise is:
“i don’t pay attention to the world ending. it has ended for me many times and began again in the morning.”
Like it is - According to Diane Disclaimer: This post was my idea, and I have NO idea where to start. I have already started the timer and I am 29 seconds in. What perspective will this post take – I honestly have no idea. Stay with me.
I am no stranger to racing. In fact, I did a race just yesterday. I’m 41 (holy shit!) and I have a race book that counts and recounts the 100+ races that I have participated in (I almost wrote competed in … but I changed my mind).
What is my WHY?
I ran my first 5k race in Colombia when I was 25 (or something). Finishing in 32 minutes and wanting to kind of puke (I may have been drunk the night prior) I was happy and felt like I had accomplished something.
* To feel sense of accomplishment.
After that, a friend asked if I wanted to race a triathlon. I had never considered this, but a friend had competed in duathlons back in St. Catharines (shout out Christine Turmain). I thought she was badass, and I wasnted to feel what it felt like to be a badass.
* To feel what if feels like to be a badass
I loved the triathlon, and signed up a year later … but almost drowned (that’s another story). So I quit triathlon for several years and only raced duathlons.
* To feel like what it feels like to be a badass when the search for that feeling scared you silly
When I moved to Brasil, I discovered Xterra races (cross country triathlon) and I wanted to compete so badly because I loved mountain biking and was curious about trail running. So I did. And panicked the entire swim while wearing a scuba wetsuit (the water drops on my goggles looked like monkey heads hanging off the trees). But I finished the race in 2nd place.
* To overcome and explore
I raced a ton on duathlons in Rio. And there was one girl, Tatiana Batista, who I was very clost to in terms of ability. Sometimes she was faster than I was, but sometimes I was faster than her. I raced her every single time we toed the line together.
* To compete
I was sitting on a white sofa when someone mentioned was an Ironman was. I was baffelled, and uttered the words, “I could neveNEVER do that!” I have heard a lot of people say the same thing.
In 2010 I raced a 1/2 Ironman on my birthday (and full moon). I still hadn’t overcome my fear of open water swimming but I did it, and finished wondering why I ever signed up. I wanted to both shit myself (literally) and puke at the same time. I did neither.
* To do a thing that is 1/2 way to a thing you thought you could NEVER do.
Within a month, I signed up for the full Ironman in Cozumel. Between that time and the Ironman, I would be forced to leave my job as I have a 5 year max., divorce, move, and start practicing yoga, and sprain my ankle very badly. Anyone who knows me, knows that my training is piecemeal, but that I bring it on race day. In 2011 I raced my first full Ironman.
* To do a thing you though you could NEVER do. * To redefine the word NEVER
Many of you know, I met my now-husband at the finish line of that race. Serendipity also gained a whole new meaning that day (Nov. 27, 2011).
These days, I race for different reasons: * I love the camaraderie * I like to see how I measure up to the other amazing individuals on the field * I LOVE to set an example for every single person around me * The adrenaline * The prep * The lifestyle
But the greatest reason of all, is simple.
If feels fucking good.
Like it is - According to Vail
I am no stranger to racing. There have been many triumphant moments in my life where I have crossed the finish line with a fist pump and a smile on my face. Whether it is a 5k or the finish of a half-ironman, the sensation of completing the race is thrilling and additive. I began racing in my early 20s and my desire to race has had its up and downs since then. I often joke now that I am in retirement, but to be honest when I finished a sub-60 minute 10k las May, I discovered that feeling and that drive still exists.
But why do we race? My sister once commented that she thought it was adults trying to relive their competitive sports past, but I think it is much more than that.
Racing, like lots of things in life, can serve as a metaphor for how we live our lives day by day. There are so many components to completing a race and each takes a special dedication or strategy to be able to find success.
The Training: Often there is a spreadsheet involved in making sure that you stay on track. This organization and desire to dedicate your time to the pursuit is probably the biggest challenge of a race. I am often told by people that they could NEVER run a race. However, I don’t believe this to be true. If there is a true urge to race, anyone can do it. Does it take time and sacrifice? Yes, but it is there for everyone.
Race Day: This is where the adrenaline kicks in and certainly at the starting line a racer feels invincible. With experience an athlete knows that he/she needs to rely on the training, rely on the heart and rely on that initial desire or intention. In the grit of the race, when legs are burning and you sometimes can’t catch your breath, it can be hard to access that original yearning to race, but that is where the work is done. In my experience, inevitably, something allows me to place one foot in front of the other.
The Finish: I really feel like there is nothing like crossing a finish line. It is a tangible sense of accomplishment. There is a sense of pride and also a sweet release. There are hugs, medals and usually beer.
A race is many things. It is organization, dedication, intention, adrenaline, heart, grit and accomplishment. No wonder it is addictive. If we did everything in life life we race, we truly would be invincible.