Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Now What?

Part of a group of 10 young Nepalese women who scaled Mt. Everest in 2008

Finishing the triathlon I first dreamed of entering 11 months ago brings me once again to the challenge of coming down from a personal Mt. Everest.  My intention is to handle this descent with more grace and aplomb than I have previously mustered on such occasions.

Earlier feats that have involved elements of fatigue, let-down, the need to rest without resting too long on one's laurels, a sudden shift in a rather stringent routine, and the question of  what new focus might arise, have included giving birth; completing a stint as a special ed para working one-on-one with a severely autistic child; finishing grueling semesters as a graduate student; turning in my master's thesis; passing doctoral prelims; coming to the end of semesters teaching college; helping care for my father through a long terminal illness; transporting my frail elderly parents back to their Louisiana home after Katrina brought them to live with me; and ending a number of demanding temporary jobs.  In each instance, I recall the inability to relax, to remember what I did for fun before being sucked into the vortex of this latest absorption.  

(Incidentally, my wetsuit model was Xterra's Vortex 3--an upgrade when the Volt I'd ordered was on back order.  And I experienced wearing this rubber deathgrip, especially at first, as though I'd been "sucked into" it.)

This time, in my latest venture, I tried to balance my effort throughout with yoga and meditation and mindful self-care, along with continued interest in other parts of my life.  It remains to be seen what the aftermath of the triathlon will bring.  But I suspect that, despite the unaccustomed high of the last few days--after a long difficult onslaught of challenging life events and circumstances, I am not used any longer to success, and to elation--I am going to have an easier time "coming down."  

For one thing, I don't intend to abandon the exercise that has become an important part of my life.  As the post-race soreness and tiredness recede, I am slowly resuming physical activity.  And I mean to adopt, and keep to, an "off-season" training routine that will maintain a base of the endurance and strength I worked so hard for.  

For another, I am enjoying a new calm, which I imagine is a product of having faced some pretty intense fears.  Other things that have intimidated me now seem more doable.  The lesson is fresh that "doing the thing I think I cannot do" brings amazing benefits.  And there are a lot more "things I think I cannot do" where that one came from.

For starters, there is the novel I started this summer, and put on the back burner in order to concentrate on the triathlon.  The feeling that "If I can do this, I can do anything" is waiting to be harnessed.  

No comments:

Post a Comment