Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dreaming

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
'Cause there's a spark in you?

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, oh
As you shoot across the sky
--“Firework” by Katy Parry

If the first two stanzas were the theme of my 2010 (and believe me, they were), I aim to make the refrain my anthem for 2011. We all have dreams. Everyone’s are different, but no one’s are less important than someone else’s. I recently read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. This book was written by a man with terminal pancreatic cancer about a lecture he gave at his university. The lecture was filmed for his young children and it was all about living your dreams.

The book was very moving. How can you not be moved by a man who’s dying and gives a final farewell to his children (who are too young to understand) and tells them to live their dreams? Beyond those emotions, however, is something that was central to the book: Live Your Dreams.

I don’t know what anyone else’s dreams are, but I think I know mine. What I’m trying to figure out is when I stopped living them and just let life take me along in her steady flow. At some point I stopped being a dreamer and a planner and a go-get-my-dream-at-all-costs woman and simply began floating downstream. Although, life hasn’t exactly been a still-water tubing float. It’s been more like a careening plummet through the tube slide at a water park. It’s been a wild ride. Nonetheless, it’s been going along without my control…and I’ve allowed myself to go along for the ride. At some point I stopped making decisions that crafted my future and let someone else do it for me. I made choices impulsively and had to follow that slide to its splashdown end. 2010 had me in that pool at the bottom, treading water looking around for the next slide.

In my previous post I mentioned the many miles of trail I covered in 2010. 80% of that (at least) was alone. Just me and the mountains. And in times like that it’s hard to not get too wrapped up inside your head. The miles melt when you’re internally battling the problems and struggles of your own life. You can exhaust yourself physically and mentally out there before finding some sort of resolution—and joy. One of my favorite quotes is from ultrarunner Krissy Moehl in an interview, “There's a lot of issues in life and they can all be solved by a long run...sometimes the run has to be a little bit longer.”

I started 2011 by facing one of my fears (and weaknesses). It was empowering to know I could step up to something that scares me (under controlled conditions) and take it on. I want the rest of this year to be like that. I want to find that inner spark—the Dreamer that Was—and reignite it. I want to look at the world through the eyes of one who Can and who Will. I want to take the risks, face the fears, embrace the challenges and achieve the goals. I want to accept failure when it comes. I want to accept it, not by acknowledging failure, but by acknowledging that unfulfilled dreams are sometimes just the dream I never knew I had.

This year I have a lot of goals. Many of them are physical. I have a demanding race schedule that starts in 2.5 weeks and will culminate at the end of August. I will recover from injury. There are trails I will hike. I will learn to ski. I will climb Mt. Baker. My other goals are emotional. I will learn to face my fears—one by one if possible, but chances are they will all ambush at once. I will face up to my failings as a human and I will improve on them. I know some of these will be easier than others. Sometimes running 100 miles seems like nothing compared to the fears I know I will have to face. 2011 is already stretching before me. It is full of mountains made of land and of soul. It is also filled with fireworks and meteor showers blazing through the night sky.

I am Hopeful. More than that, I am Dreaming.

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