January 18, 2017

To work or not to work. For moms it’s a decade old question that never truly gets answered. It never gets answered because everybody’s answer is different.

I’m not working right now so I have time to be outside running and being active. Good for me.

Because I’m not working I’m not making an income and contributing to my household financially. Bad for me.

My friend is working right now so she has very little time to be active and get in shape. Bad for her.

She is working right now so she is making a financial contribution and feels good about that. Good for her.

I like to work and do feel a bit useless when I’m not working. Deciding what to make for dinner doesn’t really challenge me. But I also love having the time to spend quality time with my family and having some time to myself does make me a happier mommy.

It’s a classic grass is always greener scenario. The Best Thing in Life is that I have a choice. For now.

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Do You Have a Personality?

personalities

It’s been about eighteen months since I started the search for my “thing”.  Some days I think I’ve found it in this blog and other days I am even more lost than before.  One thing is for sure, I am in awe of my passionate and talented friends and their ability to balance their lives with kids, exercise and whatever career/hobby/love they have taken on in their daily routine.

So as I continue to ponder what I am going to do when I grow up, I have been wondering if some of these online personality tests might be helpful.  Corporations sometimes use them to test potential employees to see if they are a good fit.  My son took one in grade twelve to help him figure out what courses he should take in university.  I did my very first personality test during the church counseling my ex-husband and I did before we got married.  Ya, that worked out great didn’t it.

But yet, I am still intrigued.  Am I the person I think I am?  Will this help me realize my potential?  If I do it, will the computer spit out the perfect job for me?  Please don’t tell me I should have been a nurse. I hate hospitals.

So I get comfy in front of the laptop and start my search for enlightenment.

I quickly realize that the mack daddy of all personality tests is the Myers-Briggs test.  The test is based on four preferences, that when combined show a personality type.  The four traits are introvert/extrovert, sensitive/intuitive, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving.  Through answering a number of seemingly random questions you arrive at a type.  Not even really a type.  You get a four letter designation that is supposed to tell the world (and you) what makes you tick.

Four letters.

Can you imagine introducing yourself at a party?

“Hi, I’m an ESFJ.”

MyersBriggsTypes

I took the test on a number of different web sites as they all seemed a bit different from one another.  Some of the questions were just worded differently but you could tell they were asking the same thing.  For example, on the first test the question was a yes or nor question.

You don’t usually initiate conversations. Yes or no?

On the second test you had to choose between

Likes to perform in front of people or avoids public speaking.

Clearly they are asking if are you an extrovert or an introvert.

Anyway, I tried to answer as honestly as I could without over thinking the questions and thus pre-determining the outcome.  That alone says something about me.  I’m not sure what, but I’m sure I will find out in 12-15 minutes.

The results of the first test said I was an extrovert but the second and third ones said I was an introvert.  I totally get that.  I do love to be social and am outgoing and comfortable speaking in front of groups of people.  On the other hand, I love, no crave, my alone time.  I guess it comes downs to how you ask me the question. So really this tells me nothing.  Next.

I am definitely a sensing person rather than an intuitive person.  That was clear in all the tests. I learn faster when I can be hands on.  I tend to not believe things until I have experienced them myself.  Again.  Nothing surprising about that.

I figured I would be a J. J is for judgement right?  No?  No. Judging suggests a preference for a structured lifestyle.  Given that I am an organizational junkie, this also comes as no surprise.  Although I think I can be pretty intuitive as well.  I like to think that I see the big picture when it comes to complex issues.

So that brings us to feeling versus thinking.  And really this is why I am here in the first place. There is too much overlap between my brain and my heart.  I can’t separate what I want to do and what I think I should do.  I tried not to answer too many of these questions with a neutral answer but I guess the tests picked up on that.  This is when my creative side battles with my pragmatic side and the results reflected that.

Right, so I have spent the better part of the morning reaffirming what I already knew.  Great. The Best Thing in Life is knowing your own personality .  The Worst Thing in Life is not knowing what to do with it.  My search continues.

PS.  Apparently I should have been a nurse….or an army general.

What if…..

Somebody asked me a question last night. Why didn’t you move to Memphis? I gave my standard response and moved on. Later that night I thought about it a bit more. What if we had moved to Memphis? Our lives would be so different. I’m happier now that I have been in years. How did I get here?  What if my life had been different?

What if I had found out about the affair before my first wedding? We wouldn’t have gotten married. Boy would that have made my mom and dad happy.

What if I we hadn’t gotten married? I wouldn’t have an eighteen year old son who surprises and confounds me almost daily. That would have been one of the biggest losses in my life.

What if we had stayed together? Oh good god that’s a scary thought….no matter how you look at it.

What if I hadn’t lost my job and taken that temp position? I wouldn’t have met my husband? Where I sat on the bus to Seattle, where I sat in the bar, where I sat at the basketball game….would all be irrelevant.

What if we had actually bid on that house on Orlohma Drive? And got it? We wouldn’t have had the opportunity to look at the house we live in. And what if we’d never had the second chance to buy it? I love this house.

What if we HAD moved to Memphis? We would live a very different life than we do now. Would I have big southern hair? Would I say y’all a lot and drink mint juleps?

What if we had stuck with our decision not to have any more kids? Duh? We wouldn’t be a complete family. Thank god for that trip to Disneyworld. I’m pretty sure that’s when my husband decided that we needed some sugar and spice in our family.

What if I hadn’t continued to run?  To stay in shape and be active?  I wouldn’t get to enjoy all my backyard has to offer.  Running the trails of Mt Seymour is a privilege and a joy.

What if I didn’t like going to the park? I wouldn’t have met the amazing women I now call my friends and their equally spirited daughters. What would life be like without their constant whirlwind of activity?

What if my husband had taken that job in the valley and not chosen to work for himself? Sure we would have avoided a bit of debt, but how happy would he be? It’s been a tough go but sometimes it’s better to look at the long range picture.

What if I had decided to continue to work instead of focusing on my family? For starters I wouldn’t be writing this post. Pretty sure I’d have more grey hairs and empty wine bottles. Hard to say at this point but I’m pretty sure it was one of my better decisions.

What if I had chosen to ignore how crappy I always felt and just chalked to up to old age? Sure, I would still be enjoying all the yummy (albeit bad for you) foods that I used to eat, but I’m happy I have the support and knowledge of great friends (again) that got me through to the others side.

Life has taken some twists and turns in the past twenty years. I wouldn’t change one of them. They got me here. To a happy Saturday afternoon in my kitchen, listening to music and watching my daughter do handstands in the back yard. The Best Thing in Life is……..living it.

MY DARKEST TIME

dark and scary

Life is pretty good these days. No, actually it’s great. It wasn’t always that way though. There was a time, about thirteen years ago, when my life was a complete mess. Wait, that’s not true. My life wasn’t a mess. I was a mess. A complete disaster actually. My life was complicated and things hadn’t been going my way. Not small things either. Major life things.

Having bounced back from an ugly divorce, I had remarried a wonderful man, my son was in his first year of school and I had a great job. All was good. Then the other shoe dropped. The day after we got married in Hawaii, the company that my husband worked for relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. A great opportunity to move ahead in his career,this wasn’t something he could turn down. We made the decision that he would go ahead and take the relocation and I would approach my ex-husband on the subject of me taking my son to live there as well. Unfortunately, he didn’t agree, neither did a judge….or an appeal judge for that matter. In hindsight they were right, but at the time I was devastated. I just wanted to put the past behind me and start a new life.

So there I was, living in a rental home and sharing custody of my son with a man who not only resented me for trying to take his son away but was bound and determined to share all of that information with my son. As much as we hated being apart, the company had offered my husband an amazing position and even though it did have a finite time frame attached to it (four years) we were newlyweds who only saw each other once a month if we were lucky. I hated being alone and it wasn’t any easier for him. We had sold our townhouse in hopes of being able to make a quick move so half of our belongings were in storage. It was a nice enough place but it wasn’t home. On the outside I had it all under control. Taking my son to school, going through the motions of life but underneath I was floundering in depression, sleep deprivation and anxiety over my relationship with my son and my new husband.

dark and scary 2

At the worst of it I would lie in bed at night in the empty house and imagine that gang members were creeping down the dark driveway to break into the house and attack me. It was so dark, so specific, so violent.  Yet so real to me. I would open my eyes and tell myself how ridiculous it was. I would go downstairs and turn on all the lights, look out the window and re-assure myself that everything was okay. The coast was clear. Back up to bed I would go. Close my eyes and the exact same thoughts would invade my mind. Just as I got close to sleep I would hear a tiny creak and my eyes would fly open and my mind would be all in a whirl again. It didn’t seem to matter how tired I was, I couldn’t get the images out of my head.

I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep or the depression but my decision-making abilities were all but gone. One day I needed to go to the grocery store for dinner. I wandered around for almost an hour trying to decide if we should have burgers or pasta. Did I want something healthy or tasty and quick. I didn’t want to have to cook so maybe should just get something frozen.

I left the store with a loaf of bread.

Half way to the car I thought this is stupid and I should go back and just buy something. I turned around and headed back to the store. Half way to the store I turned around again and headed back to the car. Sitting in the car I silently cried. It’s just dinner. Why is this so hard?

Believe it or not I didn’t go to the doctor for what was really bothering me. I can’t even remember why I was there but it must have been pretty obvious that I was a mess. After writing me a prescription for sleeping pills and an anti-depressant he suggested I go and talk to somebody. What? No, I’m fine. I just needed some sleep and everything will be good.

At that point I was still in denial.

I couldn’t even tell a man I had known for years what was going on. He was great. He said okay well just go see this friend of mine and if she says your okay then you can come back and tell me I was wrong.

It was just what I thought it would be. A couple of comfortable chairs, books on self-help and lots of candles. Close your eyes and calm your mind she said. I closed my eyes but all I saw was movement. Grey moving shapes flashed in front of me. My mind wouldn’t, couldn’t, stop moving. Try again she suggested. I closed my eyes again. No, still can’t get the world to stop spinning. Opening my eyes again I choked back tears and everything poured out. I explained the last year of my life and how I seemed to have lost any control over what was going on. I wish I could say that after spending an hour with her I had a better grasp on things but that would be a lie. It took us months to get me back on track. The sleeping pills helped. Along with antidepressants and a lot more appointments in the room with comfy chairs.

So why, when things are so good do I go back to that time?  It was dark and scary and out of control. I go back because it’s important for me to remember that all of the Best Things in My Life were with me through all of it.  And they still are.  I just couldn’t see them through all the grey swirling movement in my head.

In Search of Higher Education

grad cap

Over the years, whenever I’ve come to a crossroads in my life, I’ve entertained the idea of going back to school to finish a degree I halfheartedly started after high school. For one reason or another it has never happened and now, at fifty, I’m pretty sure it never will. I have no regrets though, because I know that if it was meant to be it would have happened. My friend Karen, however, came to a point in her life, at 47, and realized that she did want to further her education. Growing up in Saskatchewan, Karen’s mom didn’t have a formal post secondary school education and as a single mother she struggled. Seeing that, Karen knew from an early age that she wanted more for herself. She would go to university, get an education and have a career. It was never a question, it was just something she would do. Her life has taken some twists and turns along the way but the desire to better herself has never faded. At 50 years of age she is five months away from earning her MBA.

After high school Karen earned a degree in Commerce and Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan then took a year off and travelled in Southeast Asia. At the end of that year she needed to make a decision on what to do and where to go. “I sat in a bar in Bangkok and tried to decide if I should go to Australia or the UK”. Although the lure of beaches and surfing was strong, the UK won out. Securing a work visa, she headed to London. Even though she had her degree, she was in her early twenties and had no real life work experience so she joined a temp secretarial pool. Her programming background and her wicked typing skills got her plenty of jobs and within a few months she was offered a full time programming position. There’s no doubt in my mind that it wasn’t just her university degree that propelled her into this job. Karen has, what I would call, moxy.

Okay, so quick life segway…..While working in London Karen met her soon to be husband. They returned to Canada and had two boys who are now 18 and 16. She took a programming position at a telecommunications company and continued to move up the corporate ladder. About 2002 she met me. (Okay, so maybe that’s not really a “life moment” but it was at a time that her life was changing so I’m putting it in the story). A few years later she found herself going through a divorce. Having been through a divorce, I know how all consuming it can be. From what I saw, Karen took it all in stride. She put her head down, worked hard and raised her sons. All the while continuing to better herself personally and professionally. I truly admire that.

Getting an executive MBA requires a lot of things. Working for an organization that believes in people is a great place to start, and Karen’s employer has been behind her all the way. But ultimately you need to have a full support team. Work peers, friends and family. At one point in her first year Karen was struggling to juggle work, school and parenting . Feeling like she was, perhaps, not fully there for one of her sons as he reported a less than stellar grade, she said to him, “I think I should just quit this and be more available for you.” As her eyes filled with tears she recalled that her son had adamantly told her, no way was she going to quit. They were behind her 100%. Now if only she could get them to study as much as she did. Unfortunately it hasn’t all been as good as that. “I wish that women would support women more.” She’s left friendships behind because some friends, female friends, couldn’t support, or understand, what she would gain from this venture. Feeling that there was no room for negativity in her life, she has forced to moved on.

A big part of the program she is enrolled in involves working in teams and networking. Some of the members of her team are VPs of huge corporations and are well connected men and women in Vancouver business. At first she was a bit intimidated, but then one night over beers she realized she was just as smart, if not smarter, than most of them. Hey, she thought, I could do your job. One day she probably will. As she gets ready to travel to Mexico next month to complete the International portion of her degree, she thinks about how good it will feel to be done. She has specific goals in mind for her future and opportunities and connections that will take her anywhere she wants to go.

This is the reason I write this blog. Exploring other people’s Best Things in Life and searching for mine over the last nine months has shown me so many different approaches to doing what you love. So many different ways to be happy. I will not go back to school. It’s not in me. But I admire Karen so much for what she is doing and I think that not only will she succeed in all that she does, but along the way she will teach others a thing or two. She has taught me that some things are really hard to achieve. Sometimes the road to them is long, winding and full of pot holes. But if you can navigate that road, as Karen has, great things await you. The Best Thing in Life await you.

Giving New Years a Pass

I’m not particularly looking forward to 2015. Not because of anything in particular, but because 2014 was such a great year. How can I improve on it? Can’t I just opt out of a New Year? Continue on with the one that is working so well for me? I don’t want to make any resolutions because life is good and it would appear that what I am doing already, is working. I am happier now than I have been in a long time. I am relaxed and feel good with who I am, where I’ve been and were I am going. I don’t know if I want a New Year?

The year started in Hawaii. All four of us spent two weeks enjoying all that Maui has to offer. Beautiful quiet days at the beach, snorkeling with serene sea turtles, fish tacos and cold beer for lunch and relaxed dinners on the patio. Really, it was an amazing vacation.  I had a chance to paddle board with my 18 year old son for two hours one day. Two hours of uninterrupted time to talk about life, work and the future. No cell phones allowed. For all of you with teenagers. you know that this doesn’t happen very often and is precious time.  The fact that we still had enough in common to talk about made me realize that I have raised a thoughtful, mature man.  (Holy crap, my son is a man)

Two weeks away was also a good chance for me to think through my options when it came to work. Life was getting crazy with my husband away so much and me not enjoying my job. On a warm sunny beach the decision seemed quite clear. Work? Whatever. But when we got home and life got back to normal, the decision wasn’t quite so obvious. I spent an entire weekend in early January changing my mind every half an hour. Work. Quit. Work. Quit. Thank god my husband is as patient as he is. So many reasons to continue and so many reasons to pack it in. Ultimately I decide to stop working at the end of February.

I thought that once I had decided to quit work I would immediately feel a sense of relief. Nope. Panick, guilt, stress. It took a good six months before it would really sink in that I had made the right decision and that everyone in my family was in a better place because of it. I do still feel some guilt. Usually it’s when I’m on the phone with my husband and he is telling me about how he has a meeting in one city, then is flying to another city for a site tour and then back the same day for more meetings and then working late to keep up with the work he didn’t do because he was in meetings all day. “Okay then, bye I’ve got to get to yoga” I say. Guilt. At least yoga is teaching me to be grateful for everything in my life.

So March 1st rolled around and eventually so did this blog. In hind site I went out of the gate a bit fast. I wrote A LOT in those first two or three months. Loved it, but perhaps could have saved some pieces for a later date. The world of online blogging is quite fascinating and I have learnt a lot from other bloggers and writers. When I tell people that I have a blog I get lots of different reactions. Some are interested and some sort of dismiss it as if to say “ya, you and every other person with nothing better to do”. There is some truth to that I suppose. For me it has been an outlet for the small speck of creativity in my brain that has been waiting years to come out. I’m not a “writer”, I’m not trying to change the world and I’m not trying to sell people on anything. I’m just enjoying my life and my friends and passing on the experience.

I think in my head I was hoping that not working would change how I felt, not only emotionally, but physically. I was dead wrong. In May I found myself feeling worse physically than I had in years. Tired, achy, fuzzy, bad skin. I could name a couple of others but, well, I’m not going to as nobody needs that much information. A complete overhaul of how I ate was, as far as I could see, my only option. Hardest thing I have ever done. Almost six weeks of no sugar. With a road race smack dab in the middle I needed to get off track a bit and then back on track half way through my detox, but I did it and am so glad I did. It’s not for everybody and anybody who does it should approach it in their own unique way. By the time I turned fifty in October I could finally say “I feel good inside” and truly mean it.

So here I am on January 3rd filling in the 2015 calendar and reminiscing about last year. It was a year of change and realization for me. I am comfortable in my slightly older skin, although I could do without a few of the new grey hairs. I feel a sense of contentment in my life that is new for me. I started Tweeting every day in November to recognize some small thing each day that I feel is one of The Best Things in Life. Give or take a few days, I have kept up with it. Totally not something I would have seen myself doing a few years ago, but isn’t that what life is about? At any age? Being able to make changes and start new things that bring happiness into your life? Maybe I won’t pass on New Years after all

Coincidence or Kismet?

piano

Do you every think that things are just meant to happen when they happen? That the universe has a plan and you just don’t know about it? Today was one of those days for me. At a time when I was lacking motivation, questioning my decisions and wondering if the direction I was going in was leading me the right way, I had an Oprah moment. You know the one. The quintessential “aha” moment. I wasn’t unhappy, I was just unsure of where things were going or if they even needed to go anywhere. Should I soldier on or reevaluate and make a change? I felt I was lacking a focus. Then I had lunch with a very wise and lovely friend that I had been trying to connect with for months. Coincidence?

A classically trained pianist who grew up in, of all places, Prince George, Stephanie and I met when our kids attended the same pre-school. She started playing the piano when she was two and her piano teacher recognized her talent early on. By the time she was fourteen she was flying down to Vancouver once a month for lessons. She was accepted to Juliard, Peabody and Eastman – the creme de la creme of music schools in the US. After choosing and studying at Eastman she was destined for a career as a concert pianist. She, however, had a defining moment when her panic attacks started to get the best of her. She also never felt the pull that many performers feel for an adoring audience or a standing ovation. Many performers continue for the ego boost, but she realized that the direction she was heading was not meant to be. What was meant to be, was to bring the pure joy of music, that she felt, to others. As a teacher.

Her approach to teaching is truly organic. As I ate the delicious spicy Mexican soup she had made us for lunch, I listened to her explaining how learning music is not just about the notes and the technique, but the feeling you get from playing. She has been known to tell a student to “go and watch water”. The point being, to teach the lightness and finesse of playing the notes. To mimic the way the water flows and bubbles. “Some kids get it, some don’t”. She went on to say, that teaching young kids comes with a unique opportunity to mold the way they approach playing and practicing. Most would start with the easy stuff and go on from there. She encourages them to start with the most challenging part. That is a difficult thing for anybody to do at any age.

water

The most important thing she tries to instill in her students is that music should come from a place of happiness – not from a place of ego. You could win a hundred music competitions and still not understand the meaning of the music you have played. Some of the best musicians play for the pure love of it. If they are able to make a living doing it, then it really is just icing on the cake. The need for a gold star or, in my case, verification that somebody is reading my blogs and that I am making a difference, is a huge stumbling block for me. She reminded me that perhaps there was somebody out there reading my blog and thinking “wow, that’s exactly how I’m feeling too”. I could be making somebody think a different way or see a different side to something. Maybe I’m just allowing somebody to steal a few minutes from their day, read a story and enjoy the way it makes them feel.  Like a piece of music.

As usual I went into this situation with one idea and came away with a completely different point if view. I started out being envious of my friend’s passion for music and the way that she had been able to take that and use it to teach children and left feeling like maybe, just maybe, I too had a path to follow. An opportunity to catch up and learn about her music career turned into a life lesson for me. Go figure. I left her house feeling inspired, rejuvenated and happy to have reconnected with such a kind and insightful friend. Even if nobody is reading my blog, I am doing what makes me happy. Perhaps I am not “over achieving” but my family is happy too. I need to live my life for the joy and not for the gold star. The Best Thing in Life is just letting things happen the way the universe wants them to happen and enjoying the kismet.

Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is

parkinsons shirt

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about my mom’s battle with Parkinson’s. I ended the post with a promise to myself to get more involved. Last Sunday I took my first step towards that goal and participated in the Parkinson’s Superwalk 10km run. The event included a 2km, 7km and 10km routes in Stanley Park. I chose the 10km run, signed up and paid my registration fee. There wasn’t a lot of info on the web site so I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t know how big it would be or, well anything. Early Sunday morning I drove to Ceperely Park and looked for the registration area. My first impression was that everybody was very friendly and welcoming. It wasn’t a huge group but lots of families and groups supporting friends. The group registration line up was twice the length of the individual line up. I think this says a lot about the event. People weren’t just here to do a run and get a t-shirt without knowing what it was really about. People were here to support a specific individual and were happy to be doing it.

parkinsons siwash rock

The run itself was stunning. A gorgeous sunny Fall day in Vancouver never disappoints for runners. It was hot though, especially the first half around the east side of the seawall. The Coho festival was in full swing over at Ambleside and the annual pet fundraiser Paws for a Cause was rocking at Lumberman’s Arch. Inspiring to see so many great causes being supported. I did feel a bit envious though as Paws for a Cause provided their participants (by that I mean dogs) way more water breaks than my run. Seriously considered scooping up that water bowl for some much needed refreshment. I ran for a short time with another lady who was also running for her mom. It was nice to know that somebody else was thinking the same way I was. She mentioned that she had, at first, thought she would just do the 7km but pushed herself to do the 10km. “It puts what they endure every day into perspective”.

parkinsons seawall

I don’t typically run with my phone but I knew that I would want to document this experienced as the views would be outstanding. As you can see they didn’t disappoint. Aside from enjoying the scenery, the run gave me some time alone to think about how I can continue to support Parkinson’s over the next year. I know for sure that I will do the run next year but this time will register earlier and do some fundraising on my own. At the start of the race I ran into a lady who I have met before in my area. She works for the BC Parkinson’s Society and I plan on contacting her to talk about volunteer opportunities during the next few month. This run was just dipping my toe into the waters of the Parkinson’s society.

There has been a lot of publicity and hype over the ALS ice bucket challenge this summer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to spread awareness and raise money for a great cause. However, when my son did it and then challenged me I told him I wouldn’t do it. “What? Why?” He couldn’t believe I would be so lame. (His words, not mine.) The reason I didn’t want to do it was simple. I have chosen my charity and want to be able to support it. We are not lacking in money at this point in time but there have been times in the past when giving to charity just wasn’t an option. I made a decision at that time to be selective in my donation dollars. There are so many amazing causes to give to. Cancer research, AIDS, MS, ALS and the list goes on. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to support them all? Perhaps we could redirect some professional sports players salaries to cover what we can’t?  The Best Thing in Life would be to have enough money to support everybody who needs it but for now the Parkinson’s Society of BC has my full support.

parkinsons finish

Marathon Decisions

running man

I’m thinking about running a marathon next Fall. Actually I’ve been “thinking” about running a marathon for a long time now. My go to excuse has always been that I wouldn’t have the time to train between work and kids activities and hubby’s travel schedule. So having recently quit my job, I seem to be all out of excuses. I’m a bit preoccupied right now with deciding if I will in fact do this or not. I’m turning fifty this year and it seems like a good milestone to work towards and check off my list. Right?  So why is so hard for me to commit?

The marathon I wanted to run was in San Francisco in October. It was the Nike women’s marathon that had an amazing (albeit hilly) course with spectacular views winding through the city and past the Golden Gate Bridge. I envisioned myself running; no bounding, through the streets of San Francisco as the fog parted and the sun shone down on me leaping across the finish line with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. How’s that for incentive. Not to mention the hunky firemen handing out Tiffany necklaces at the finish line. I am writing this in the past tense because Nike, in their infinite wisdom, has chosen not to offer the full marathon in October of 2014. I have to say I was a bit deflated when I heard this. “Now what?” I thought.

I’ve been a regular runner since I was in my late twenties. I’m not a great runner. I think if I had to sum up my running style it would be consistent. I’ve never run any faster than a 10 minute mile, even after weeks of training. But on any given day I can go out and run a solid 4-6 miles (with hills) and feel pretty good. I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had any major injuries. Stiff sore muscles and a couple of bulging discs (not caused by running) have occasionally sidelined me for short periods, but for the most part, I have been lucky. There’s this guy who runs quite regularly in my area. I would love to run like him. He makes it look so effortless and natural. Like a gazelle. I’m more like a small pony.

What does it take to run a marathon ? What is the motivation ? What is holding me back from committing? Could it be the monumental effort it would take to push my body to run 26.2 miles? I have run a half marathon before and have been told that the rule of thumb is, if you can do that, then you can do a full marathon. Who makes these rules anyway?  I’ve read all the training advice. Printed out the training program. They totally make it seem doable. Actually, the reality is that it is doable. It won’t be fast or pretty but it is doable. On my run this morning I thought “I feel really good. If I just follow the program I will be fine.” The voice inside my head when I am running is very different from the voice inside my head during the rest of the day and way different from the voice in my head at 7:00 in the morning.

I guess what it comes down to is deciding if I want to push my body to do it at this point in my life? It’s only 18 weeks of training and then if I never want to run again I would be okay. I think. Why is this so hard? Why do I do this when I have to make a decision? I did it when I was deciding whether or not to quit my job. Back and forth, back and forth. I nearly drove my husband crazy one weekend changing my mind every half an hour. I know that when I finally do make a decision it will be the right one and that I will see it through.

I thought that writing about this dilemma might aid in my decision making process. Not so much. It’s interesting to me that I started this post thinking about running a marathon but in actual fact what is bothering me is the fact that I find it so hard to make a decision and commit.  The Best Thing in Life would be for somebody to just register me and tell me that I’m doing it.  But what would I learn from that?