Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting to the core of things

"There's nothing to fear but fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

If I had a dime for every time I've heard this saying, I would be lounging on the beach of my own private island right this second, sipping some Dom with a few dozen of my closest friends. Unfortunately, the dimes have never materialized and now I've added yet another one to the tally.

In any case, even as cliche as it is, this statement still packs a lot of emotional punch. We all fear something on some level. Some folks can simply shrug it all aside and plow on through; others are apprehensive and just manage to deal with it; yet others become paralyzed into crisis. Fear is the root of (too) many of the world's problems and left unattended, can have very serious consequences indeed.

Fortunately for me, I am privileged enough to live a lifestyle in which I don't have a whole lot to fear. My husband and I are gainfully employed, we own our house and two vehicles in good running order. We have been blessed with three wonderful children and enjoy the benefits of relative good health. No, I have it pretty good, most definitely. So what, aside from the occasional day-to-day things that cause fleeting stress and worry, do I have to be afraid of?

My answer came in the form of an "a-ha" moment the other day while ruminating on the fact that I am not good at  finishing things I start. This applies to all sorts of stuff I've jumped into, ranging from numerous abandoned sewing projects and unresolved writing to the deeper issues of a seemingly endless weight issue and dropping out of college. Now, after literally years of this type of behavior, it has finally occurred to me that maybe I am simply afraid of doing something well from start to finish.

This led me further down the path to think about how this sort of behavior might affect my latest efforts at serious and long-term committed running. If history is truly doomed to repeat itself, then in about six months or maybe another year I'll just quit running again. Heck, while I'm at it, I may as well gain back the 60 or so pounds I've managed to lose since the beginning of 2009 - why not go all the way and make the fail downright epic?

Given my latest theory, this would happen because I'm afraid of what might result from my continued running and efforts to lose weight. Finishing a full marathon is something I've never done. Beyond that, I literally cannot remember the last time I was in truly excellent physical shape. In fact, I've never resembled anything even close to an "excellent shape!" It's foreign territory, an unreached shore, these potential results - crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles and seeing myself at a normal weight. What becomes obvious is something I've always been taught to be true, and that is as human beings, we fear the unknown more than anything else.

I think FDR was definitely on to something with his innocuous little sound bite. I will do well to think of it often from here on out as I prepare for Portland in October. I strongly suspect the rewards gained from that particular success will be more precious than all the dimes in the world.


Quinn said...

I actually just posted about my fear of losing weight on Friday. You hit the nail on the head, while I was just dancing around it, not really sure exactly what I was trying to say.

Thanks :-)

(ps. I'm a member of runners on LJ - that's how I got your blog!)

Jules said...

Thanks, Quinn!

I think I only scratched the surface of the issue with this post, but I really do think we sabotage ourselves in ways that we're not even aware of at times because on a subconscious level, we're not ready to leave our comfort zones. Let's face it - even though being overweight is regpugnant on a *conscious* level, one grows accustomed to it and therefore, "comfortably uncomfortable" - KWIM?

Anyway, thanks for reading and happy trails!