Yesterday I mapped out a training program. How many days a week to run, ride and swim. It’s nothing crazy.
Those are exciting to think about as I also fixed up my former racing bike and this past weekend picked up a set of Profile Design tri-bars so that I can ride aero on that bike and maybe peel a mile or two per hour off my competition pace in Sprints and Olympics this summer. I love doing triathlons for the peak experiences they bring. Fun to lace all that together. It’s both a mental and physical challenge.
Yes: I still love to do all this.
The written word
Yet I also have some competing goals in life as well. For example, I have a pair of books nearly completed that will require some work to push for publication. Two months ago I spoke for a half hour with a literary agent who expressed interest in the projects, and my main goal is to go the traditional route when it comes to those books. Work with an agent. Find a publisher. Then promote. One of those books is titled Truly Sustainable Faith. The other is titled Nature Is My Country Club. Both have been a joy to write, and I work on editing and such every day.
Just like my running and riding and swimming, writing is a daily discipline in which I engage.
Art to produce
There is also artwork to produce. My latest solo show titled
Road Trip was well received. People responded well to the twenty works I produced and exhibited at Water Street Studios, the gallery and collective where I worked as a Resident Artist the last three years.
I’ll be taking some of that show up to Luther College late next summer to hold a show at the Center for Faith and Life on campus. My 40-year college reunion will be held in October.
Which means that while my world has changed in so many ways, I’m still doing the things that I loved from way back when. Still painting, writing and running. Added the cycling and swimming, and that makes things busy sometimes.
Some of my classmates from college days are already retired. They’ve got their finances set up and are either traveling, hanging out doing what they like or taking on volunteer projects. That’s their world. I’ve got mine.
And even if I were retired, I’m pretty much sure I’d be challenging myself the same ways that I do now. In fact, while I ran my own little company and worked for myself a few years in a row, that’s what I did. With all that freedom to do whatever I liked, I focused on client projects of course. But I also signed up for the Resident Artist gig at Water Street, did some commissions and grew my work in new directions.
They say you’re supposed to find the things you love and do them in life, and success will follow. Yet it is a little strange to realize that I’ve got competing goals when it comes to time. There are days when I have a little less motivation to get up and jump in the pool than I’d like, but there’s always the noon hour as well.
Because that’s the thing that I have also learned to do after all these years. Stay motivated even if things don’t fall together in the moment. Being flexible and determined is a form of discipline as well.
My earnest advice is to forgive yourself and keep moving in life. Don’t forget to let yourself rest now and then as well. That becomes more important as you age. Not because you can’t handle it if you try, but because it’s not a sin to treat yourself well, and be kind within during times of adversity. The trick is to find ways to compete and do what you love without killing yourself in the process.
That’s the secret to life, right there.