January 1, 1016: Deconstructing dreams

I know, I know, it’s New Year’s Day, 2016. I should have a list of goals I want to accomplish. And in particular, running goals.

So far I have one: Qualify for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

I have been really struggling to find a new goal to work toward. Boston was last year’s goal, after all. And I did qualify. But I didn’t make the cut. So I’ll try again. And in trying again, the Boston goal has all sorts of mini goals, such as:

  • Strength train at least twice per week.
  • Eat a clean diet; cut down on alcohol, up the water intake.
  • Slim back down to 130lb; try to race at 128lb. (I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon and literally ate my way around Epcot for a week; I have yet to drop that weight.)
  • Get plenty of sleep.

But I haven’t gotten anything new. And I know why.

The real problem, (it’s nothing exciting), is that I find myself smack-dab in the middle of a bonafide mid-life crisis.

I know, right? Big deal. Everyone goes through it. Having just turned 48 years old, I probably should have gone through this a few years ago. But I was too busy. And now I’m in the middle of this big, fat, ugly crisis. It has manifested itself in the form of a metaphorical, 10,0000-piece Lego world. A world I constructed over the course of the last 40 some-odd years, one Lego brick at a time; a world that represents my dreams of the kind of contributions I wanted to make in this world.

In one part of that world, I constructed a dream where I was a writer – there was a fiction writer area, a journalist area, and even a technical writer area.

In another part of that world, I constructed a dream where I was an attorney – I built little areas where I brought justice to unjust situations.

And in another part of that world, I constructed a dream where I was a programmer – in this section of my masterpiece I wrote code that made people’s lives better.

And like any world, there were small corners scattered here and there, representing short-lived bursts of passion for this or that. Photography. Graphic Design. Academics. Even running.

Well I “woke up” recently, and I realized this world just isn’t going to happen. And I’m really okay with that. This is not a self-pity party, I promise. I can look back at my life and see where I made mistakes and bad decisions, didn’t properly prepare myself for opportunities, and at times simply ran into bad luck. And as a result of these things, I won’t be saving the world.

But that’s okay.

If my contribution to the universe consists solely of raising three healthy, happy, educated, compassionate, productive young men, being a loving and supportive wife, and being a kind and dependable friend (and citizen of the world), that will be a life well lived.

But in the meantime, I think I owe it to myself to give myself the space and time I need to deconstruct my old dreams, to carefully take my Lego masterpiece apart, and to put the pieces away.

So you see, surrounded by thousands of these bricks, it’s difficult to think about setting new goals. After all, these bricks represent goals and dreams that will not come to fruition.

But once each brick has been put away, I think it will be very important for me to hone in on a new goal. And without all of that mid-life crisis clutter and it’s accompanying emotions (and that would include ALL the emotions), I think I will be able to wrap my mind and heart around a new goal. Or two.

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