When I ran my first marathon I was 21. I had trained for five months, I had eaten the right foods, put in the work, prepared my body well, and was mentally ready for 26.2. It was beautiful and I was happy to be there, until I wasn’t. At mile 20 as I reached the final turnaround, I felt like I’d been slammed into The Wall. Frozen. Heavy. My feet wouldn’t move. My eyes stared up the road in agony, defeat in my toes and pain in my soul.
I started negotiating quitting. I considered napping right there on the pavement. I threw up five times just a mile short of the finish line, and then two more times as soon as I crossed it.
So much resistance.
I started my first career that year too, at 21. I had graduated from college at 20, got my first set of credentials and a job, had a Master’s Degree and another credential by 24. I was prepared as prepared could be. I was ready, dammit.
I worked at a school down the street from my house. It was the cutest thing ever, until it wasn’t. Until I had up to 35 five and six year olds in a classroom alone for 7.5 hours a day. Until I was crying in my car before class and was so tired after that I waited until the last possible minute to pick my own kids up from childcare. Until The Wall showed up bigger and stronger and meaner than the first one.
I changed the game a little, switched sides of the table and became a School Administrator. I loved it, I felt like I was doing something that made a difference. I liked my job, until I didn’t. Until it nearly broke me. Until I was arriving as close the bell as possible and leaving the minute the last kid cleared the hall. Until the very thought of going into my office made me sick. It was all love and titles until The Wall came.
So I left Elementary Education, and I started exploring new paths. I spent some years trying on new hats, new careers, following new leads, listening to new insights. It was always a full yes until it wasn’t. Until it was clear I had reached a HELL NO. Until The Wall showed up saying, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, “not this.”
Sometimes the wall was financial. Sometimes it was a full body reaction in a parking lot. Sometimes it was tears in the bathtub after late night rants. Sometimes it was as easy to miss as the quiet in my voice and the tired eyes with which each morning began; apathy, a lack of passion.
Too much resistance. Too many walls, and a total lack of desire to get over them.
Sometimes I think those walls are intuition, signs I’m meant to go no further here. Other times though, I think those walls are tests of creativity and strength. If not this way- then which? If not straight forward, then how? If not hard, then what about easy?
So here I am, late Wednesday afternoon, and I can feel myself hitting The Wall. Not such a big one, but a mid-week wall that’s practically begging me to sit and stay awhile. I’m tired. My brain is slowing down, my body is sluggish, my thoughts aren’t generally positive or productive. It’s time to make another choice.
I can keep pushing against the wall. I can be here and just feel the wall. Or, I can start turning shit around — me, or the wall. I can use the tools I have to move it, to get over, around, or through it, or, I can just turn myself the fuck around.
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