In triathlons, athletes take meticulous care to set up their transition areas next to their bikes. Some people use a checklist, a mnemonic device, a photo, etc. to make sure each piece of their equipment is remembered. I myself have a handy little checklist, and I am not as particular as other people about specific pieces of equipment (cuz that’s how I roll, general-big-picture person, no details). Before the race, everything looks neat, organized, and logical.
When you re-enter the transition zone after a triathlon, it’s an entirely different story. The place is a mess. A GIANT mess of clothing strewn about, bikes knocked over, buckets upturned, etc. The careful planning that goes into the preparation of a race appears to have the snot kicked out of it by reality. And when I walked into my bedroom (or insert any room in my house currently) the other day and was confronted by a room full of strewn about bits, I had a bit of a revelation.
My life has been a bit like the transition area after a race. Everything was carefully laid out, and now it’s all gone to shit. As I pulled into the parking lot of the rec center this morning, I thought about all my resolutions that I made in January and how just about none of them are shaping up how I thought they would. I thought back to this time last year and how happy and focused I was, and how lucky I was to be able to pursue my ambitions. Then I thought about my race this weekend, and how I could really care less if I went or if I competed and how unlike me that seemed. The real me seems far, far away from the person sitting in the car this morning.
So, yes, I honestly had a little pity party for myself in the car. Now, don’t feel sorry for me, because life is full of tragedies, and this one certainly isn’t too tragic, but I am beginning to understand how difficult it can be to feel happy and content when you are not actively pursuing goals or dreams that are important to you. Life starts to look a bit like the transition zone after a race.
All I can do for the next 16 days until I finish my interim position is to put my head down, do the work, and not let it break me. Then, I need to figure out a new game plan and line up the right resources to help when the transition bits get messy again because they inevitably will, as it does for everyone who actually pulls the covers off and faces each day, with whatever challenges one has to face. However, I also need to recognize the truth about the best-laid plans, and perhaps tell my inner control freak to chill because life just becomes messy sometimes.