Hindsight And 2020--Lessons in Endurance
Endurance—noun---the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina.
When I think of “2020,” the first thing that comes to mind is vision—perfect vision to be exact. A little known fact about me: I have perfect 2020 vision—but in my left eye only. I’m so farsighted in the right eye that it is basically useless. It’s always made me feel a bit like a
human Mr. Potato Head that has the parts in the wrong place. Anyway, the good news is that with correction I can get pretty close to 2020 vision in both eyes, but even so, I don’t always see what’s right in front of me—or what’s coming. That’s where another vision-related phrase comes into play: "Hindsight is 2020."
Like most of us, my hindsight is perfect. I can see clearly the things that made no sense or were “blurry” to me in the moment—or the things that I chose to ignore because blindness was preferable to seeing the truth. As I look back over this decade, one word keeps emerging so clearly that it is impossible not to see it—it shines as brightly as a neon sign. That word is “endurance.”
If you come to my cycle classes at JoyRide, you know that there are few things I love more than a good 7-9 minute endurance climb. There is something about being in a dark room with only your thoughts, a strong beat and a fear that turns into determination, that turns into success and an unparalleled feeling of accomplishment when you’re through. It’s both a physical and a mental game that begs you to test your limits and sit with the uncomfortable. The only way out is through.
I became obsessed with endurance activities about 4-5 years ago when I took on my first half-marathon. From there it went to 100-mile bike rides, triathlons, and finally my biggest endurance event-a Half-Ironman. The Half-Ironman took place in October of this year, and I spent the majority of 2019 training for it. There is something about the discipline and rigor of an intense endurance-training schedule that appeals to me. It’s a tangible, result driven process that in the end makes you tougher and stronger both physically and mentally. It requires you to show up for yourself—even on the days when you are tired, sore, or frustrated. It demands that you be kind to yourself because there are days when you will not perform at your best. It gives you life lessons that you may not see clearly in the process, but that hindsight though….
Finishing that race in October was one of the highest points of my year---little did I know that it would be followed by some of the lowest lows I’ve ever experienced---situations that ranged from mild inconveniences, to heartbreaking conflicts, to devastating tragedies. Things that left me feeling invisible, worthless, and helpless—and yet I still had to show up for myself—and for the people who needed me to be strong for them too. In hindsight—that’s where all the endurance training paid off—although I didn’t know it at the time. But in looking back, I realized it taught me how to get up and get on with it—even when I didn’t want to. It taught me that it was okay to give in and stay home all day, drinking hot tea and crying it out. But most importantly, it taught me that I could, and would get through the challenges and come out on the other side—even if I had to rely on only my own strength to do it.
No one is perfect---we all have our faults and challenges to overcome. It takes grit—and it takes endurance—and it takes 2020 hindsight to see where you’ve been—where you could improve, and where you want to go—being kind to yourself in the process.That's why I don’t like the phrase, “New Year New You,” because it implies that there is something wrong with the current you—that’s simply not the case. So as we enter 2020 I challenge you to forget “new” you, and instead focus on “best” you. Forget the idea of a complete overhaul, or laundry list of resolutions filled with things you think you need to change about yourself. Instead, try focusing on the things you love about yourself—the things that make you feel your best-- and build on those. Ditch lofty resolutions for who you think you “ought” to be, and set goals for who it is that you WANT to be—that is how you succeed.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint—it is the ultimate endurance event and should be treated as such. In other words, a setback is simply a setback—not a reason to abandon your plan. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game—remembering that you are enough, even on your worst days. Run YOUR race at YOUR pace and run it strong, looking bravely ahead, knowing that when things seem blurry or unclear-there will always be 2020 hindsight.