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So this is Christmas. What have you done?

posted by Byline to Finish Line
Friday, December 14, 2012 at 7:47pm EST

A chronicle of a sports reporter who ditched the sideline to discover her own power and strength by taking up endurance sports in her 30's.

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I ran through the streets singing Christmas carols and reciting lines from “It’s A Wonderful Life.” The goal was to distract Linda during the 5K but really, it’s secretly what I wanted to do in the first place. Last weekend’s race in Seneca Falls to celebrate the movie opened up my holiday joy. ZuZu! Martinis! Rum punch!  The lights! The music! Yes, someone hit me with the magical Christmas stick this year. And I’m just going with it.

My tree may be small, but it is full of character.

My tree may be small, but it is full of character.

Let me say I have never exactly been Scrooge McDuck when it comes to the holidays. Rather, I tend to get sentimental and reflective especially when I hear the line from Happy Christmas (War is Over) which asks, “So this is Christmas. What have you done?” I start to think about what I’ve lost in the past year, the times where I failed to reach my goals, failed to follow through, left opportunities on the table. I think of the people I’ve lost in the last year, relationships which failed and people who chose to leave my life, usually with well-intentioned but stinging words. I think of all I am lacking. No wonder the holidays are a mixed emotional bag. But something magical happened this year. I’m not quite sure what it was. Perhaps my race-day glitter really was some sort of pixie dust. Perhaps I was visited by three ghosts in my sleep. Perhaps I’ve grown just a bit wiser and stepped further into my own confidence. Instead of seeing what I have failed to do, instead of questioning where I am lacking or what is wrong with me, I am seeing all the fantastic aspects of my life in its current state.

I spent most of 2012 doing incredibly difficult things. I did a trail marathon. I did a double-triathlon weekend. I did a 70.3 race that was all hills, all the time. It was a challenge to my body, mind and soul. But it revealed some pretty special things:

  1. I have an amazing group of family and friends. That’s easy to say, right? But it’s difficult to see on a daily basis. I get caught up in my own drama sometimes and fail to see what’s right in front of me. But my friends — near and far, old and new — are a pretty awesome group of people and I am a richer person for having them in my corner. And even better, new people are constantly coming into my life, creating more depth and breadth to my own experiences.
  2. I am stronger than I think. Actually, throw in any adjective in for “stronger” and it applies. I am my own worst critic. I am my harshest judge. But really, I am a lot better at this thing called life than I give myself credit for. The challenges I take on, whether they are “successful” or not, are opportunities to grow and remind myself of my inner core.
  3. I am already in the perfect position. I don’t need to lose 10 pounds or have my house cleaned. I don’t need to be in a relationship or have the perfect job. I don’t need a certain amount of money in bank account, run a specific time in a 5K or have my novel all plotted out. I don’t have to delay what it is I want to do or how it is I want to see myself. How many times have I consciously, or unconsciously, said “I will be an athlete when (insert desired outcome here)” or “I will be a writer when (insert desired outcome here).” I can choose to see myself as that right now, in this moment. It is already perfect. It is where I am supposed to be. And I get to affect where I will be tomorrow by my choices to live fully, to see myself as complete, today. Because the great contradiction in life is that while we are all works in progress we also are already complete and whole.

So what does this have to do with the Christmas spirit? You probably have to be in my mind to fully make the connection, but seeing all the good that is in my life right now makes it so much easier to be in the present moment, to enjoy what is going on this day and, perhaps most importantly, to be myself. From that place of authenticity, I can celebrate the people in my life and the holiday season. I can be joyful in who I am and where I’m at while at the same time knowing this is so much more I want to do, so much more for me to be. But that won’t come through wailing and gnashing of teeth. It comes through giving my best to the day that is in front of me and seeing the gifts I have already received.

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