Monday, September 09, 2013

Maybe...I'm just happier than you think I am

I'm not a typical chic. I'm quite unconventional- and I don't fit the stereotype of what a 37 year-old woman should look, think and act like.
What a 37 year-old woman should look like is beyond me, because no one has told me. I'm afraid to find out too, considering when I tell people I'm 37, they respond with a wild look on their face: bugged out eyes and wide open mouth,  and  a loud gasp. If I had a nickel for every time I heard:  "Oh My God! No way! You're lying!  I would've never guessed!" I'd be rich right now.
Never been married. Never had children. Nor do I yearn for the day I meet a man and have a child, live in a two story house with a white picket fence and a dog named Zoey.
Oh, and my career has fallen apart.
Sure- I crashed and burned in my career and now I'm back to zero.
Sometimes I feel the only thing I'm successful in is failing.
So there. Nothing about me says I'm 37. I confess, I've shed some tears, but I've decided to stop wasting my time feeling sorry for myself.
With all the bad luck I've been through since I've moved to Charlotte, you'd think I'd be miserable and run back to New England to hide in the comforts of my childhood home. But I didn't do that. Yet.

I'd rather move out west first. That's a different blog for another day.

I've realized that almost every wild, supposedly unrealistic dream I've ever had has at one point started to come true. Because it seems the dream to have a steady, stable conventional job at the office of a Fortune 500 company in Uptown Charlotte is suddenly- unrealistic and unattainable. Even though that is where my experience once was.

My newest goal is discovering what I need to do to continue writing about the athletic life I live - and answering the most important question: do I really want to pursue a sports journalism career where I'll interview famous rich athletes? If so, what sport? Can I cover more than one and should it be local sports or should I aim higher, go big, go for pro-sports?

I've finally read the book, Laws of the Ring by Urijah Faber, a successful Pro-MMA fighter in the UFC's bantamweight division. He tells the stories of his life, and of those who have made impressionable changes in their lives. It's eloquently written and personal. I laughed at some stories, I cried at other stories. Most important, I've gained a lot of respect for Faber. I've considered writing a traditional book review for it but

I've never met 'The California Kid' but I've invested a lot of time researching the internet, stayed awake until 4 AM watching videos on YouTube a few nights in a row and I find it hard to believe that one of the most dangerous men in the cage might actually be a kind hearted, loving, comical man outside of the ring. 

I think everyone has read that one book that stuck in their head and heart and suddenly their life changed. 'The Laws of the Ringis that book for me. It's almost as if Faber reached out punched me in the face. After years of living life full throttle, wide open in the fast lane I crashed. 

Unlike a NASCAR race,  have no spotter standing above me telling me when danger is ahead, nor is there a yellow flag waived if there's a wreck, or debris on the track to my future. 
Maybe Faber's book is the yellow caution flag waving in my face, because today,  I have no choice but to stop and proceed forward slowly.  (Or for you UFC fans-the book maybe the referee that stopped the opponent  from pounding me to death while I lay limp and unconscious on the floor). Now I'm wide awake, I've already taken action and started to answer some of the questions I asked two paragraphs above.
I hope that on December 31st  I'll write an essay that putting his 'Laws of Power' advice did work for me.

I'm putting it out there for the world to see without reservations. What more can you expect from a writer anyway? Fall goal to accomplish: put to practice the advice I get from the book I read, and the people I choose to surround myself with. Hope you stick around - if not that's cool. I won't be offended.

Week 1: Passion

I know I have a lot of passions, and if I could have it all, I'd have three careers. But that's impossible because I can't be in three places at the same time. I can't be competing in a fitness competition in Boston while working as a sports writer in another city and at a movie writers' conference in San Franscio all in the same weekend. I have to pick one of the three - and stick to it.

I know what I love. I know when I'm happy. I'm not even sure I know why I'm happy when I do what I love to do, I just know that when I'm focused I'm good at it and it makes me happy. I know, I'm a bit "unconsciously competent"  in fitness and writing and that's okay. I'm going to learn how to be a better instructor/educator and leader in these fields.
When I'm at the gym working out on something- or when I'm writing about a sport I love a strong sense of happiness over-comes me. It's the same strong happy, giddy feeling I got when I was writing articles while in the media center of a NASCAR race. It was the beginning of what could have been an amazing career but it ended abruptly. 
Faber discusses failure and losing, and learning from your mistakes in his book. I've already mentioned that I'm really good at failing- and now I'm ready to forgive myself  for the first time in a year. I have to say I didn't really fail, I don't suck at journalism or interviewing or writing. I've outgrown my NASCAR dreams. I've matured because of my experience and I'm a better person because of my time there. My biggest fear has been to walk away and leave it behind. I didn't want to downsize my experience to a hobby, but I can use that experience as my jumping off point to where I'll eventually be. Now I'm ready to pursue other writing opportunities, and I'm no longer afraid to relocate to another city or state if I have to.
I love to write and love to live. I have a long list of different experiences in my life and I'm learning to use that to my advantage. 

 I finally had the chance to check an item off of my bucket list last Saturday. I went out on the lake to do stand up paddle boarding. It was an amazing experience. I was balanced and in control on the board. Coincidentally, one of my yoga teachers tweeted recently, "How we train our bodies on the mat has a direct correlation to how we train our minds off the mat." If that is true- then I should believe how well I practiced yoga on a paddle board means I have what it takes to live a well balanced life that I can control. 

As the session came to an end,  our boards had drifted off to shallow waters. In a transitional move, while going down, I somehow fell off the board and landed in a perfect plank position. It was awesome- and the water was refreshing. I got back on the board and finished the 'SUP' lesson off strong. Just like I hope I end this crazy year - stronger, more balanced, stable and happy.

I am passionate about living, learning new sports, meeting athletes and writing about them. 
And that makes me exceptionally happy.