I’ve even been moderately tolerant of winter this year even though I thought I’d never regain the feeling in my frozen fingertips after running on Saturday morning. Maybe this tolerance is because the sun shines so brightly in the middle of the day, maybe it’s because I have flannel sheets, furry cats, and endless cups of hot coffee, or maybe it’s because I’ve accepted that I will forever be cold and I started to seek out joyful winter moments. Whatever the reason, this is the most tolerant I’ve been toward winter.
In early pandemic days, in the midst of quarantine, I decided to get rid of my treadmill. The treadmill crowded our current house and every time I consistently ran on the treadmill I ended up with achilles tendonitis. I knew this would mean never having a reprieve from
running shivering around town with the potential of slipping on ice during the winter months, however it seemed like getting rid of the treadmill had the potential to lead to an injury free life. As of today, I don’t miss the treadmill and I don’t have achilles pain or tendonitis.
Joy is easy for me to create, right now goals are not. I don’t have any real goals at the moment because for the first time in my life I have no idea what I want to do. I wish that I did. The last time I had a set of huge goals I was certain that I knew what I wanted and how I was going to make it happen, and then as soon as I got started everything was paused because of COVID. In many ways, because of COVID, I gained more than I lost. And now, I am evaluating if what I lost is even something I truly want and if it is something I am truly passionate about. It’s interesting how something you were so sure about one day can become something you are so uncertain about a year later. COVID is a deadly disease and a terrible inconvenience. Somehow though, COVID has provided me with plenty of work that I enjoy, given me a coaching job, and an endless amount of time to think about my future. The more I think the more confused I become.
I don’t want to turn away from something I’ve spent years working towards when it is within reach, and I don’t want to jeopardize the work I am doing and the opportunities that I have because of something I feel like I should do, or could do. It’s impossible to have any kind of goals when you don’t even know if you are fabricating said goals out of desire and passion, or fear.
Sometimes you have to leave certain goals behind, just like I left my treadmill running days behind, to realize that they don’t bring you joy, they no longer fit, and that you’ve fabricated them out of fear. I was always fearful to run outside in the winter. I hate winter and being cold, I was worried I’d slip on ice, and I thought it was too dark so I kept the treadmill and ended up injured from pounding out miles that never should have been run indoors. Dragging that treadmill around every time we moved was driven by fear. I used it often, I rarely enjoyed running on it, more recently it didn’t fit in my house, and it always hurt me. As I ran Sunday night in the cold and darkness and maneuvered around ice patches, I realized that letting these fears about winter running go gave me the freedom to escape the tendonitis that I’d likely have come spring time if I had been running inside on the treadmill. I was so afraid of getting hurt that I was hurting myself unknowingly.
Just like the treadmill, sometimes if we don’t reevaluate our goals they too can hurt us. Goal setting is a reflective process, and it takes time to identify if something is driven by fear. It takes time to know if something is driven by passion. It takes time to let go of fear based ideas that no longer serve us. It takes time to realize that what we once desired may no longer fit. Once we do though, it is freeing and we learn to maneuver around the things we used to fear.