Over the last few years I’ve been encouraged by some and told by others that I should start a Blog about my journey. Well, after more than a few hesitations over public scrutiny and privacy, let this be the start of my Blog. It wouldn’t be the full deal if I didn’t share the personal challenges and emotional details since most of my learning and change is driven from those points. It’s quite easy to be an open book ‘amongst friends’ on Facebook, at least for me, but this forum will no doubt provide some learning experiences. I will continue to be me which is open, honest, positive and always willing to learn. Bring on your feedback!
So what is my journey? My life is a mix of journeys; parent to 4 adult “kids” closing in on the empty nester stage, career in HR, nature addict, dog lover, partner, adventure grabber, challenge taker, nutritionist wannabe, planner, fitness buff etc. About 4 years ago I started thinking about my 50th birthday and asking myself questions about how I wanted my life to look and how I wanted to remember my 50th. To me it wasn’t just another birthday, nor was it a birthday I had any intention of hiding. I am quite proud of what I’ve accomplished and the timing was perfect for a big adventure, IF ONLY, I could just transform myself to be capable of one. No doubt I will relive some of those early days of my “Midlife Adventure Crisis” as we get to know each other.
The early days of my Midlife Adventure Crisis:
Adventure after Adventure after Adventure has lead me to these results:
No doubt you can already tell I am not a professional writer. I know I should have socialized less and listened more in those High School English classes. I will work on it! In the meantime, I hope you’re more entertained by my mistakes than annoyed. Recently I’ve become much more active on Twitter (it’s no longer just an account to check up on my kids) and it has definitely been a lesson in more concise thinking. I run out of characters most posts and have to rethink my words, it’s a good thing.
Organizing, planning and documenting have always been required skills in my life, for me, I just do it. My Mom’s pantry was the early victim of my organizing and labelling skills and I have photo albums so detailed I could tell you the actual campsites I stayed at when our kids were young, perhaps even the cost of a trip to NYC in the 80’s. I have no idea where it comes from, it’s just me and I’m uneasy if I don’t have things documented. Most recently, I’ve created coffee table books of our grand adventures and taken my Facebook friends along for the ride as I started recreating myself into the life seeking adventurer I always knew I had inside of me. The feedback from friends through this process has really shown me the value in sharing experiences and learnings. You never know who you might be inspiring from the sidelines and that has become a prime motivator for me.
So what is the goal of this Blog? Goal? Yes, I have goals for pretty much everything. Bit of a goal addict, self-motivated as long as I have a goal. They drive my life. Something tells me I need structure but I’m much more free spirited than that sounds so I’ll deny deny.
I don’t take goals lightly. I ran my very 1st marathon last October and I had so many goals to help prepare for it that the main event almost got blurred. I ran 10 races between February and September, all different distances and speeds, in an attempt to make 42.2km seem a less overwhelming distance. It was a good thing I took that approach, the months flew by with new encouraging friends, race bling, personal bests, travel and event excitement. It “almost” blurred the pain my body was having to adapt to as well.
Facebook posting announcing my goals the morning of my 1st marathon:
I tried really hard to NOT make my 1st marathon about time but the reality is my head didn’t quite agree with this approach. Every training run and race along the path of becoming a distance runner you are focused on your time and pace so it’s like asking yourself to just throw all that brain training out the window. In the end, what I really wanted to accomplish was all that’s posted above AND come in under 4:45 with a smile on my face. That’s a lot of goals for one race! You’ll have to wait and see if I accomplished it all.
See how easily I digress!
Goals. What I believe about goal setting is you should have 3 goals for each major under taking:
1. The REAL focus. Keep it simple. In a sentence what do you want to accomplish?
2. What will make you proud? How can you step it up on your goal, exceed expectations?
3. What will make you tear up? Really?! Tear up. Yup, way beyond your current ability, something that makes you emotional.
That is your KarenGeterdone HR lesson for today. When you get emotional, things get serious. Besides most people set a big goal before they’ve started working towards it so after some work or training that initial goal is going to get easier anyway. Don’t you want to have an emotional response to your achievement? I sure do!
So my goals for this KarenGeterdone Blog go like this:
1. I want to publish a public diary for your entertainment and my learning. Karen gets her documentation needs fulfilled!
2. I would really prefer to have even 1 person inspired by my words so they reach outside their current comfort zone to get healthy, try something new, take on a challenge or go on a big adventure. Just try it!
3. Ultimately, I would totally love to motivate people to reach for and achieve their best life. To be healthy and active, to get outside and discover, truly appreciate and respect nature, pursue challenges, overcome some fears, inspire others AND Play It Forward – that would be the ultimate blessing!
So where do the tears come in? Let’s just say that is the moment that changed it all for me. The moment it turned from a potential “one hit wonder” or a “one adventure wonder” to a true lifestyle change. When it gets emotional, it gets REAL.
I was standing a few hundred feet below the top of Mt Kilimanjaro after 5 days of hiking up a mountain and too many hours of trudging through Summit day scree, struggling to breathe with nothing but huge boulders in front of me. I was so tired that I didn’t even have interest or energy to turn my head so I could catch the view 19,000 feet up a mountain (thankfully our Guide announced he would be our “paparazzi” for the day), yet, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something through all the gray mountain dust that was bright green. I was so deprived of oxygen that it took a few minutes to register but, when it did, I immediately burst into tears. Noisy. Ugly cry tears. A noise that scared my sister actually. This is the moment that I realized nothing, not the weather, my age, equipment, health or altitude sickness, not lack of sleep or missteps on training, food or water … NOTHING was going to stand in the way of me ascending those boulders and reaching the Summit of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Most of us have some level of doubt that seeps into our brains, we might not verbalize it or admit it even but it’s hard to put to rest when you’re taking on a big challenge. Sometimes it’s even smart to consider the other side so you can prepare. Nothing is guaranteed. That moment I put aside the 15 months of preparation, planning, training, doctors, weight loss, research, weight lifting, fear of not succeeding and I enjoyed the raw emotion of success. I had EARNED those tears, they were pure tears of pride. That moment had such a huge impact on me that even writing about it now takes me back, gives me goose bumps and results in real tears welling up in my eyes.
My hope for this blog is that anyone reading it will find goals, challenges and life experiences that require them to learn and grow in such significant ways that will result in tears of joy, pride tears. Put your fears aside and chase some tears. That’s what I’m chasing. I want to be healthy and fit enough to continue taking on challenges that are new to me, that make me uncomfortable, even scared at times. I want to overcome those fears. It is empowering. Chasing tears has taken me to places I never imagined and accomplishing goals that were never on my radar. What a way to live!
When was the last time you were so proud of yourself that it made you cry?