Sunday, July 8, 2012

I'm different now.

Two of my now-graduated students, Bryce and Steven, were in town this week and they joined me and the family to watch the fireworks on the 4th. They were in our pilot Earth Sustainability program here at VT that required a 2-year commitment so I saw this group of students a LOT, we really got to know each other well, and we stay in contact.

As we caught up, Bryce turned to me and said, "You've changed a LOT in 6 years." Wait...wasn't I supposed to say that to them? He's a mover and shaker in the Sierra Club, and Steven is in pharmacy school. I'm a grown adult (at least according to my birth certificate haha) still here doing my thing.

He said I seemed more mellow. Different somehow.

Yeah, I would say I am. I think triathlon, probably any sport/passion, can change a person, at any age! It's taught me a lot of lessons in a different way, that's for sure.

Perseverance. Resiliency. Trust. Work. Courage. Humility.

The rewards have far exceeded anything I could have imagined. I don't mean race "bling" and hardware. I mean self-discovery.

I have learned that I love to spend hours in the brain-quieting solitude of training. I discovered my capacity to work and the happiness that comes from pushing myself physically. I am grounded by the structure and challenges that training provides. I am competitive :-) Who knew?  How else would I have known?

I AM different now. I'm pretty sure my brain is even biochemically different than four years ago, and not just because my eating has done a 180, but from four years of being bathed in endorphins that leave me feeling happier than I have ever been.

I think sport changes us, alters the course of our development and personality. Maybe it's not always for the better but I think/hope for the most part it is.

I shudder to think of where I would be, of who I would be, had I not taken that first step over four years ago.

This change is a big reason that I blog and share openly. I don't think we are done growing up and finding ourselves at 20, or 30, or 40, or 50, or beyond. It's an ongoing developmental process....if you don't shut yourself off to it. Sport is one avenue for continual self-discovery and a great antidote to personal stagnation.

No matter your age, step away from the status quo. 
Take a chance. Shake things up. Discover.

Bryce is and has been doing that since I have known him. I do have one piece of advice for Bryce though -- just don't grow up ALL the way ;-)  Always leave a little room there for the kid in you!

Bryce and I three years ago when he won a major service learning award!!