Thursday, August 22, 2013

"We All Go Through Something In Life"

I can’t get the 911 call from a school secretary, who was confronted by a gunman, out of my head.  I’ve listened to it several times.

Many people are analyzing her ability to act as a negotiator, which I admire and know nothing about, but what I’m intrigued with is her ability to connect to something in all of us.

My most admired quote:  “It’s gonna be all right, sweetie. I just want you to know that I love you though and I’m proud of you, that’s a good thing that you’ve just given up and don’t worry about it.  We all go through something in life.”

She’s right.  The bottom line is, we all “Go through something in life.”  Some go through worse things than others.  But at the time, no matter what it is, we all feel like we are in the depths of hell. 

I can't imagine the hell Michael Hill was experiencing.  And this may not be popular, but kudos to Hill for recognizing his illness – at least during the split second when he could have shot up a school, versus putting  the gun down.

I don’t know what it’s like to hear voices in my head (other than the one telling me to work harder or putting me a guilt trip).  I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness (although my motto is, those who DON’T think they’re messed up in some way, are the MOST messed up).  And I’m certainly no expert on this issue.  But I am human.

Our means of treating people with mental health disorders is severely lacking, if not non-existent.  Nearly three-quarters of the people in our country’s prisons suffer from a diagnosed mental illness.

The United States incarcerates more juvenile offenders than any other developed country in the world.

Many criminals have been victimized themselves.

This is not to say that people who commit crimes should not suffer the consequences.  But let’s think about this – all of us.  You, me, the legislature… doctors, lawyers.  Surely, there’s someone out there who is smart enough find a better way.
Maybe Ms. Tuft found a better way, simply by saying, “We don’t hate you baby.”

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Failure: Fearing It And Embracing It

A friend suggested I write about failure.  I admit, I’m quick to write about my successes – miles run, miles ridden, miles swam.  And who doesn’t like bragging about the races completed, the medals received, etc…
I don’t like talking about my failures - who does?  And for now, I’ll confine it to my workouts (I have more failures than I can count in other aspects of my life).
I failed this morning.  I intended to swim with a group at Gray’s lake at 5:15 this morning.  My intentions were good.  I set my alarm, even got up and made coffee.  It’s a morning ritual – and for those who know me – part of my “cleansing process.”
Then, I saw rain.  The back deck was wet – I think I even felt a sprinkle on my bed-head hair as I let the dogs out.  One can only assume there's lightening on the horizon.  Bottom line:  It was my out!
Truth be told, I didn’t want to swim at 5:15… in the dark.  Frankly, I’m very uncomfortable with it.  Frankly, it scares me to death.  Someone described it to me as, “being in the womb.”  And I was out!  And I'm a pretty good swimmer, but this freaked me out.
I don’t know why I can’t swim in the dark.  I’ve conquered a lot of physical and psychological challenges in my life.  But this is an obstacle for me. 
I felt defeated for a large portion of the day.  And to beat myself up for not swimming in the dark, I beat myself up by running and lifting excessively.
I know this is all a head game. 
I’ve felt failure upon finishing a marathon, for God’s sake.



That's me finishing the San Diego Marathon in 2009.  I’m the one in the blue shorts – the one who looks like she’s walking, not running!
I finished about 35 minutes later than I thought I would.  To me, that was a fail!  But was it really?  First of all, I did it for my brother, who was battling Hodgkin's Disease.  So, there was no "fail," because five years out, he's cancer free.
My friend, Dr. Deming knows what that's all about.
I don’t have pictures of it, but my bike chain came off twice during last year’s HyVee Triathlon. 
After that, I decided I was defeated.  I took my time in transition – even went to the bathroom!  Again,  I considered it a fail.  Then, when I checked my time, I learned I'd qualified for the 5150.
That's why, when I really ponder these events, I no longer consider them failures.  Why?  At least I did it.  I accomplished my goal – and in the case of the San Diego Marathon and many other races, it was a goal bigger than a finishing a race.
I've come to realize, the only time you fail, is when you relinquish a dream or a goal.
Winston Churchill probably said it better. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Carry on, my friends.  And I’ll be swimming in the dark next week.