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The Weekly Mile: Week 4 (Finding Inspiration in Adversity)

Monday, May 07, 2012

The rules that once seemed to apply to living life in your 30s don't seem to make sense anymore. To say that times have changed since my parents were in their 30s is an understatement indeed, and thus, it's hard to turn to them for advice these days because I'm feeling quite "on my own" in terms of making up the new rules as I go and learning how to live in this world of Generation Xers and Generation Nexters and yada, yada, yada.

Following up on the painful daily existence of last week, I think I have finally made a bit of a breakthrough and have garnered a new acceptance for just where, exactly, I am in life.

I am in my early 30s. The years my parents' generation devoted to having and raising children, setting down roots and generally, settling into the "long haul" of a picture perfect, little life in the suburbs for the next 60 years - if they were lucky enough to have them. All goals that I want for myself too. But the life and times in which I now live have shifted all those goals into the next decade, not this one. The 30s are now about the "Leap List" - the list of all the things that you MUST accomplish before taking the marriage & children leap and settling down. Running a marathon is definitely a Leap List item.

I have fought a desire to grow up too fast my entire life. It's not that I'm wishing my life away, it's just that I want so much, I'm afraid if I don't get it right now, that I'm going to run out of time. Despite everyone telling me I'm still very young, I don't feel young. I am still holding my parent's generation up to the light of example and basing my life progress on how well I'm doing compared to their timeline.

Every generation has its own issues. My generation has witnessed the birth of the technological age and is now utterly dependent on that technology for daily existence; is the product of the women's movement and thus feels the responsibility to uphold those values and prove to the world that we can, in fact do it all and be everything that our mothers worked so hard to get for us; and has been thrust into the heart of absolute loneliness that all of the above means for a young woman in her 30s. Sure - you can want a great job, and great friends, and a great husband, and great kids, and a GREAT BIG savings account - but you can't want all of that at the same time because it seems virtually impossible to achieve. Life is now handled in segments, and you have to decide what order they go in. Career first, then matrimony, then family. The achievement of all of that is now the end product, not the thing to enjoy along the way. Any deviation from the above and you're seen as a martyr for the "old way of thinking" or as a system-deviant, set on doing things your own way and thus stuck out on a limb to sink or swim as you will. I know - those are a lot of feelings that I just threw on you there, but the heart isn't always willing to stick to the plan.

I thought I just might be able to accomplish a couple of list items at the same time. But it turns out that I can't. So I'm back to sticking to the plan until something else changes.

Like running the marathon - if I don't put in the work on the lower mileage days, I'm screwed when it comes to running the longer distances. I know this, and yet running those shorter distances is like pulling teeth some days. But all the wishing and hoping in the world is not going to change the facts. The hard work gets you to the finish line, time after time.

Breaking up is hard to do. There's a song that says so. But the other thing that has changed about my generation is that as you grow up and mature and really learn about relationships and how to have them properly, there is more room at the end of one to part amicably and maintain a friendship. I am lucky to have 2 very wonderful exes in my life. I have loved these men as my partners, but I continue to love them as important parts of my life, and constant reminders of how far I have come. Each relationship is different. But in each relationship I have grown immensely in who I am through being with another person. And hidden in there somewhere is my inspiration to keep pushing forward.

Every failure signifies growth of some sort. It's a way of spinning the negatives into positives. What it takes of a person to make it to a certain point - be it a decision, a destination, or any other turning point in life - is a series of steps. Those steps may not all be in the same direction. Some will be up, some will be down, some will be straight-forward. But you always end up somewhere. It may not be where you expected to go, but as long as you have learned lessons along the way, it's where you are supposed to be.

I kept saying that I felt like I needed more time for me. Now I have it. So I'm going to find my inspiration in that and do what I need to do to get to the next step. No one can tell the future - so for now, there's no point in rushing the present to get there too quickly. Because maybe there's something at this stage in the game that is meant to be discovered first.

Week 4 Schedule (Completed):

Sun - 3 miles
Mon - Rest
Tue - 12 miles
Wed - chiro & BMG
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5 miles
Sat - Walk

Total Weekly Miles: 20
Total Weekly Calories Burned: 2811
Weekly Weigh-In: 187.2 (not what I wanted to see, but down from last week)

Week 5 Schedule:

Sun - Rest
Mon - 8 miles
Tue - 5 miles
Wed - Swim
Thu - 8 miles
Fri - Rest
Sat - Zumba (if I feel like it, or a walk)
(Sun - 13.1 miles!!! HALF, here I come!)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you so much for your blogs. I'm also training for my first marathon in September and feel really overwhelmed right now. I'm still overweight and the half I completed on April 28 left me with a sore hip, so there is some adjustment I need to make - just don't know what yet. I thought losing weight would make running easier, but the running does seem to make the losing weight harder!
    I read your blogs at first just for the information on your training schedule, but am getting so much more. I tried to follow the accepted life schedule and ended up marrying the wrong man and ultimately raising 4 children completely on my own. It hasn't been easy, but I think it would have been easier if I had learned those lessons - that maybe the accepted plan shouldn't be MY plan - while I was younger. I'm mid-40s now and am finally doing what I want with the people I want to do it with. I'm not a stupid person, but it sure took me a long time to learn! But now that I look for the lesson, I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be too.
    2476 days ago
    I am someone whose 30's are a distant memory. My experience says the best thing you can do is plan for those things you want to accomplish and if you are lucky life doesn't mess with your goals too much. I think you are right to savour all the stages and not fall into the trap of chasing the future. You can only do what feels right and you have a pretty good handle on that. I wish I was together as you are in my 30's. I was just struggling to survive.
    2477 days ago
    I totally understand the pressure to do and have it all. Our moms and aunts worked so hard to give us these opportunities and so our generation of women feels pressured to make good on that. But in the end we only harm ourselves - and ultimately compromise the vision they had of wide open choices - if we try to live by somebody else's timeline. Hard as it can be sometimes - I faced the auntie inquisition this weekend, so I feel ya - ultimately it's worth it to live our lives our own way. I never expected to be where I am but man, has the trip been worth it. You'll get to that point of acceptance, too, Jenn. I promise. emoticon
    2478 days ago
    "Every failure signifies growth of some sort." This is so true Jenn. And while the relationship may have failed, it wasn't a failure, you learned from this , are growing from this, and will ultimately be the person you are meant to be through this all. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I think we all struggle with society and family's expectations of us and where we should be by XX date. Even married with 2 kids I get it. We all need to live our own lives, on our own paths, on our own terms. And I love that you are not letting what anyone else may think, or expect, get in your way. You are such a strong, amazing woman and I am so proud of you for all that you have accomplished, and all that you will accomplish. Half marathon? Coming up. You truly rock and I am proud to call you friend. Love you!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2478 days ago
  • -POOKIE-

    It is hard when you think about what you expect, or are expected to expect by others, and assess whats really going on and what you can achieve.
    2478 days ago
    You are an amazing writer! I hope this week is better than last!
    2478 days ago
    Love your blogs, just went back and read the others in the "series"! Sorry about the breakup---but you are absolutely right--you learn things (good and bad) about yourself with each relationship or stage of your life. I bitterly regretted a lot of aspects of a 7 year dating relationship---but looking back I wouldn't be who I am today without that experience. Plus--If I hadn't ended things at what was apparently the right time in my personal storyline I wouldn't be with my amazing guy now! :) Timing and life experiences are funny things sometimes!

    I dream of a marathon but the furthest I can manage right now is a 5K. I'm sticking with that for a little while as it isn't an easy run for me--I still have to walk a little bit and I'm turtleslow. Thanks for the motivation though!
    2478 days ago
    emoticon This blog was fantastic and right on time! The pressures we face as 30-something's to be "picture perfect" I definitely can relate!

    2478 days ago
  • JTAYLOR2011
    I've got 21 weeks until my marathon. Your posts are incredible to read. Check subscribe? Yup! Thank you.
    2478 days ago
    "But you always end up somewhere. It may not be where you expected to go, but as long as you have learned lessons along the way, it's where you are supposed to be. "

    Amen to that, sister. Gosh, your words and insight are just so touching, so real.

    Thank you.


    What a ride. Life, that is.
    2478 days ago
  • PJH2028
    As always, you articulate so well so much. I am honored to hear the truth of your moment and your reflections. And I am grateful for the parts of me I see and hear in your truth, too.

    I f'd up the order irrevocably. But that doesn't mean that I'm not in a good place!
    Not necessarily.

    2478 days ago
    I agree with you completely. I was married too - right on schedule with the old life plan. And then all of a sudden my life was completely uprooted and I got a very serious look at how different life really is supposed to be now. I mean - I wouldn't change any of those experiences for the world - but it's not the easiest position to be in. I weigh the idea of the amount of pain I would have had to endure staying in a loveless marriage vs. the horrid pain I have felt trying to figure out life on my own and what I really want. I don't know which is worse. But I'm glad to be where I am right now. I know that somewhere along the way, all of this is going to be worth it.
    2478 days ago
    "It may not be where you expected to go, but as long as you have learned lessons along the way, it's where you are supposed to be. "
    Absolutely. Wise. It's taken me til my 60s to learn this so I think you are well ahead of schedule! emoticon emoticon
    2478 days ago
    You may think that you are just rambling, or throwing your heart upon us, but really...for some of's the exact words to something that was too difficult to verbalize. Being 35 i thought i would have it "all" by now. I was married. I did have the house. Then things got turned upside down and it was time to start all over. It's difficult and frustrating sometimes, but you learn and grow through it. Heck, i'm still learning and growing. Thanks for always being honest.
    2478 days ago
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