I’m the type of person that thrives on consistency, predictability, and regularity in my day-to-day existence. I’m routine-oriented and find comfort in knowing that, on some level, most of my days are relatively predictable in nature. Not to necessarily say that my days are boring and uneventful, but in training for triathlon and finishing up my Master’s degree, predictability is somewhat essential to my success as these pursuits require daily commitment, effort, and structure. I have always struggled when this daily predictability is challenged or when my routine is thrown out of wack, say, with an illness, an injury, or an unexpected event that forces me to rearrange my schedule.
Recently, I have found myself truly struggling to come to terms with the fact that there are times when my life is simply going to be unpredictable. I will be graduating from grad school in less than a month now and, despite starting my search for full-time work about three months ago, I am still working to land a job. This uncertaintly regarding my future has driven me, at times, to the point of tears. All I want is to know that I will be able to continue doing meaningful work, that I will be compensated appropriately for it, and that I will be able to pay my bills.
In addition to coming to terms with the uncertaintly of my professional future, I have also been trying to wrap my head around my recent failed attempt to complete the ultra ironman-distance triathlon, Project DM, back in late June. I dedicated the first six months of 2017 almost exclusively towards the goal of completing that race, and having to pull out 9 miles into the run due to stomach issues was incredibly disappointing. Normally, my anxiety around racing stems from, “How fast can I go?” as opposed to “Can I even finish this?” That was the first time I have ever had to pull myself out of a race early, and accepting that reality was hard for me and is something I am still working through.
It’s important to acknowledge that, despite the recent challenges I have encountered, I have also experienced some successes. A few days after my DNF at Project DM, I successfully defended my Thesis, something I had been working towards for over two years. Then, only another week later, I raced in a sprint-distance triathlon and came in 9th overall and 1st in my age group. This race was important as it helped me move past Project DM and all of the disappointment I was still feeling.
The past few months have been full of ups and downs and I think this has helped me accept that a life spent pursuing my passions is often going to be unpredictable and, at times, a little messy. I have been forced to re-appraise my need for predictibility and to accept that sometimes it is okay to feel like my life is a little uncertain at times. My failures only help move me one step closer towards the realization of success; the lows teach me to appreciate the highs; and the feeling of being lost lets me truly embrace the moments in which I discover myself.