So apparently the "in thing" to do this year is to think of a single word that represents what you want the new year to be for you instead of a resolution. And we all know I'm nothing if not cool (again, cough, cough). Actually, the thing is that when I looked at my list of goals for this year (I am not just an extreme weight loser, I am also an extreme list maker), they all had one word that tied them together. That word is courage.
Courage is not something that I am unfamiliar with, though in the past I would hesitate to think of myself as brave or courageous in any way. If I am honest, it's not something that comes naturally to me. Sometimes I feel like as a society, we fail to recognize courage in any form other than to the scale of beating cancer or climbing Mount Everest or running in a burning building to save someone. And it's without a doubt true that those things require immense courage. But there are all different types of courage. Sometimes courage is represented just by a single small step. I like this one quote (you know there had to be a quote in here somewhere) by Mary Anne Radmacher that says, "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the tiny voice at the end of the day saying, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'" In 2012, I had the courage to start to change my life. Not just by losing weight (though undoubtedly, that was an important and highly visible part of it), but by changing really everything. I went from being a miserable person that I really despised, to being someone who, even though I am not perfect and even though I still have more self-doubt than I would like, I can really respect. The person that I feel like I was meant to be. In 2013, I continued that journey and had the courage to start to realize my own self-worth. In 2014, I had the courage to keep on dating even after eHarmony was a massive failure. I had enough faith in myself to realize that just because I didn't find someone on eHarmony didn't mean that I wouldn't find someone eventually. That it didn't mean I wasn't good enough or that there was something wrong with me. And let me tell you, that was a pretty huge realization for me, because at the beginning of 2014, I couldn't say I felt that way. Pretty much, I thought that maybe some people just didn't get to find somebody to be with. That maybe it just wasn't in the cards for me and I needed to learn to live with that. But last summer, I decided I owed it to myself to keep trying. And I found someone really amazing and supportive, someone that sometimes I still can't believe I am lucky enough to get to be with. It's pretty freaking incredible.
Courage for 2015? I need to have courage in many areas of my life this year. I need to have the courage to actually get to my goal weight. Even though that may sound silly (I mean, who wouldn't want to get to their goal weight?), it will take courage for me to do this because getting to my goal weight and starting the maintenance phase is something I've never done before. It's something that may take trial and error, something I won't be perfect at (and we all know how much I have to battle my perfectionist tendencies). I need to have the courage to get my career back on track. I still have some conflicted feelings about nursing, but if I am honest with myself, I know that is what I am meant to be doing. But that doesn't mean it will be easy.
I also need to have the courage to cast aside my "fat girl" fears and set new fitness goals. I believe I am supposed to complete a triathlon. I have had many people suggest different kinds of races to me and I have also thought myself about many different kinds of fitness goals, but I keep coming back to the triathlon idea. A sprint triathlon to start, of course. I'm not crazy enough to think I can do an Ironman or anything right away (although, in the future...). The thing is, I'm the type of person who needs a tangible goal all the time. 2014 was all about running. And that was no small thing. I went from running a 5k every day to consistently running 8 miles a day, and sometimes a total of 16 miles a day. But now I'm stuck in a rut with that. My body is used to it, and it's not responding like it did in the beginning. And I'm kind of bored too. So a new challenge like training for a triathlon would serve the dual purpose of getting me out of my rut, and changing things up so my body will hopefully cooperate with getting rid of the last of my extra weight. The thing that is holding me back is my lingering feeling of inadequacy in the fitness arena. It sounds silly, I know. Rationally, I know that not just anyone can run like I run every day. I have no reason to feel not good enough. Rationally, I know that it is well within my ability to train for and do pretty well in a triathlon. But there is still that thought in my head that I am not good enough. That people like me, fat girls like me (because sometimes I do still think of myself that way), don't complete triathlons. And that if they try, they will look ridiculous. I need to have the courage to think, "Do it anyway." Worst case scenario, I do look ridiculous. Maybe I don't finish. Maybe I finish last. At least I will have had the courage to try. I need to tell myself that it's okay if I am not the best at something.
On my run today, I heard one of my very favorite songs. It's kind of corny, but so am I. The song is called Walk on the Water by Britt Nicole. These lyrics really hit home for me.
You look around, staring back at you
Another wave of doubt, will it pull you under? You wonder
What if I'm overtaken? What if I never make it?
So what are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities, they try to alter you
But you know you're made for more, so don't be afraid to move
So get out, and let your fear fall to the ground
No time to waste, don't wait, and don't you turn around and miss out
Everything you were made for, I know you're not sure
So you play it safe, you try to run away
Step out, even when it's storming
Step out, even when you're broken
Step out, even when your heart is telling you
Telling you to give up
Step out when your hope is stolen
You can't see where you're going
You don't have to be afraid
So what are you waiting, what are you waiting for?
Today I listened to that song 3 times in a row, just because I needed to hear those words. Or maybe I just needed hear it before I poured freezing cold water on my head. Please enjoy the video of this below. Originally, I had planned to jump in the ocean on New Year's Day, but I just haven't had the chance to make the trip there. So I decided to pour freezing cold water on my head a la the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which I was pretty sure would accomplish the same sensation (actually, it may be colder since it's been about 70 degrees lately here). Does it take courage to pour ice cold water over your head? Nah, I mean that was just a choice I made that maybe took some balls (for lack of a better word) or some would argue, some insanity, but didn't require true courage. But I liked what it represented to me. It represented just going for it. After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Yeah, maybe it's cold and uncomfortable, but it also made me feel, without a doubt, alive. And who could ask for more than that for 2015?