Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Are your dreams big enough?

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." ~Helen Keller 

Once the precedent of pushing limits is set in our lives, of identifying fears and facing them with a touch of masochistic glee, it is nearly impossible to remain content with remaining where we are, regardless of what we have accomplished. And so, it is only in natural progression that, having completed the once far off goal of running a 100 mile mountain race, this formerly red-faced and miserable Physical Education participant would train for a new race over double the distance (Bigfoot 200-August 2015). That is a long, long way to go on foot, and I am excited to learn whether this time I have finally chosen a physical challenge too big to finish the first time around.

To dream dreams with the understanding that failure is real option, and to strive forward whole-heartedly anyway, is one of the bravest (and possibly stupid) things humans can do. Evolution selects for those who avoid risk, who embrace the negative bias; joy and growth select for those who place the potential for more over survival. As a rational person, a scientist, a doctor, it is hard to make high-risk life decisions. Since last writing, an attempt to do just that resulted in two cross-country moves, bringing me back to where I started (fortunately physically, more than mentally) after an all too brief taste of the Cascadian wild. I’d like to believe that the search for physical failure is teaching me to be more accepting and loving of the professional and personal failures in my life, to view all aspects of life in the way I feel about a challenging solo climb with hail stinging my face and the rocks dissolving under me. Without my most recent “failure,” I may have never had the freedom to volunteer 50 hours of trail building time, eaten lunch on Mt. Rainier after learning to snowshoe, sang around a campfire with new and hopefully lifelong friends until well past midnight on New Year’s Day, or come back to the desert with renewed appreciation of the people and experiences here, but it’s never easy.

Another Tucson runner offered the following advice regarding my next race adventure “Just will and plain stupidity to finish is all it takes.” So cheers to dreams that are too big, to will, to stupidity, and to change!