I used to walk into a room full of people and wonder if they liked me……now I look around and wonder if I like them.
Last weekend I spent three days with fifteen women. It was a girls weekend in a local resort. A few of us spent most of Friday relaxing in Whistler. Shopping and drinking beer at the pub. Or both. A few more arrived in the early evening after work, more than ready to decompress after a long week. A few more didn’t make it up until the next morning.
By Saturday evening sixteen of us were sitting around two tables at a great Mexican restaurant swapping stories about everything from work to kids to travel. Collectively we had run 160 km (99.5 miles)that day. Some of us were tired. Some of us were exhilarated. Some of us were just happy to be sitting up and awake. The margaritas were flowing freely.
This was not the first time we had done something like this. Over the past five years a core group of us, plus a few willing ( and not so willing) additions, have ventured out of our comfort zones to run (notice how I didn’t say compete) in a relay race each year. Really it’s just an excuse to go away for the weekend without our spouses and kids. It’s not really about the running any more. Last year we spent 33 Hours in a Van.
But here’s the thing. It wasn’t that long ago that I would have fretted for days about doing this. Not the running or being away from my family, but spending that much time in close quarters with women that, sometimes, I don’t really know very well. I would have worried about whether or not I was interesting enough or whether I was accomplishing enough in my life. I would worry that, perhaps , there would be somebody that would disagreed with my opinion and (heaven forbid) wouldn’t like me. I would worry that I wouldn’t “fit in”.
Now, to quote a wise running companion, I don’t give a rats ass.
Don’t get me wrong. These women are incredible and I enjoy spending time with each of them for various different reasons. But do I spend time worrying about whether they like me or not? Nope. And I hope that they feel the same way. The more time you spend worrying about whether or not people like you, the less time you have to get to know them.
For example, I now accept that it’s okay to be away from the pack sometimes. In fact I’ve found that it can be a saving grace. It is not unacceptable for me to say “Hey! I’m just going to go for a walk and I’ll meet everybody back at the room”. Maybe you just need some space or maybe you want to hit up the bakery without letting anybody know that you are secretly craving a slice of coconut cake.
Not that I’ve ever done that.
I guess what I am trying to say (not very eloquently) is that it is one of The Best Thing in Life to be able to experience all that this type of weekend can bring by simply being yourself.
PS – that’s not me in the opening picture.