Okay, I totally stole that title from someone else. But it’s so perfect, I couldn’t resist!
It perfectly describes the outlook I want to have. It’s an attitude that focuses on how thankful I am to be able to just try stuff… to face challenges — whether they involve successes or disappointments. I’m so thankful to be in a position to fail or succeed. Some people don’t even have the chance to try some of the things I am doing. And that takes me right back to my kidney donation…When I was on the path to donating a kidney to my stepfather, I felt lucky to be able to do it. (At the time, I also wished I could donate a colon to my father, who was being treated for colon cancer, but you can’t donate one of those…)
So many people can’t find a match or a person willing to donate, and others aren’t healthy enough to be a donor. I was willing, I was a match, and I was healthy enough. And, not only that, my stepdad is doing well now. How can I not be in awe of how nicely that all worked out??!!
As people who read this blog know, my big hobby since before donating has been doing triathlons… And so often, in the midst of my training, I whine, I fret, I agonize, but I forget how fortunate I am to even try. This past year, after donating and recovering, I really had the wrong attitude. You would have thought that I’d be thankful for every finish line I crossed or mile I completed. But instead, I had it all wrong.
I had done my first triathlon in 2010, and by 2011, I saw improvement in my times. I did my fastest marathon ever, and I felt invincible. I loved the purity of working hard and seeing results. You could rely on it. But in 2012, despite the fact that I had just donated an organ (HELLO!), I expected to see the same trajectory of improvement. Surely my times would be even faster than 2011. (Um, hello?) So, obviously, I was disappointed when I bailed out on two races, only doing one half-Ironman, and running two marathons even slower than the one I ran the year before, despite putting in even more miles of training. Suddenly, working hard did not automatically equal improvement. But I missed the most important part.
I forgot to just be thankful that I could still do races at all. I forgot to savor the experience and appreciate it for what it was. I forgot to try things just for the grace of being able to try them. Well, now, remembering that outlook is going to be so important over the next year, because… as of last Monday, my husband and I are registered for the Ironman Arizona triathlon! It’s 140.6 miles of racing, and it’s most definitely the hardest thing I’ve taken on to date. It takes place on Nov. 17, 2013. So, we have just over a year to prepare. Even though I can’t imagine myself finishing it yet, I can imagine myself *trying* it. And, that’s really all that matters. I know I can try it, and I know that I’m thankful for that opportunity. It doesn’t matter how I do nearly as much as how fortunate I feel doing it. And, on top of that, I get to do it with my husband, who deserves a special mention right about now…
My husband is not only already an Ironman seven times over and the person from whom I’ve learned practically everything I know about how to do this triathlon stuff… He is also the most generous person I know. And, I feel absolutely positive that I never would have even thought about donating a kidney if I hadn’t seen the generosity of my husband. It comes so naturally to him. I have to work at not always putting myself first. But Craig is the exact opposite. I am so grateful to get to train for this Ironman with him, and I pray that I can be the support to him that he is to me. I hope that I can appreciate every moment that we get to do this together, because nothing is certain. We really don’t know what the next year holds or how this Ironman thing will turn out. But we can live each moment together and relish it. And whenever I feel like complaining about it, I sure hope I can stop myself and realize how lucky I am!
Here is a video of highlights from the 2012 Ironman Arizona – for those who have never seen one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrsqgPgekW4&sns=em