Everyday is a chance to train yourself for something. I’m #trainingformy40s, what are you training for?

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Another day in the books.

Day 7 of #28daystohappiness –

Today was long. I’m tired. I’m not finished with work. It’s 11:21.

I stayed true to my commitment… I ran. However, I ran a short enough distance I don’t want to say how far. Let’s just say, I fulfilled the letter of the law. Truthfully, I don’t want to be up too late because I really want to get up and run a real run in the morning. As it stands, it’ll be midnight before my head hits the pillow.

I’m scribbling a few thoughts, to keep my commitment if writing. I did write earlier today for work as I worked on writing some assessments of families. And while those are some wonderful works of writing, I can’t really share them here.

You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow for something better in the running and writing department.

It’s time for an Execution

I just wrapped up today’s run for my #28daystohappiness challenge. I must confess, I didn’t want to run. Not because I had anything better to do, I just didn’t want to do this. While there could be multiple reasons for not wanting to go run, if I’m honest the real reason is because I tend to be a quitter. I tend to lean towards not doing things I don’t feel like doing.

In January of 2014, I ran a marathon. Yeah, sure I ran 26.2 miles… but I’m dissatisfied by the outcome of that race. Add to that dissatisfaction, in the ensuing years I’ve attempted to train for others only to quit a few weeks into the training. I just stopped. My heart wasn’t in it, whatever.

The point is, I quit. I stopped. I have some significantly strong feeling about my performance in that marathon (to be honest, the whole thing feels like a failure) and I can’t find the motivation to overcome what is a black mark I’m an otherwise satisfying history of running.

Which leads me back to walking out the door to go for a run tonight. I was very close to quitting. To giving in and being typical Eli who makes big plans and promises and then walks away from them the first time he doesn’t feel like it. But this can ncept is bigger than my desire to run or not.

I look into the mirror everyday and I see a sarcastic, cantankerous, mean, rude, disrespectful, dismissive, haughty, condescending human. I see someone who is angry often, for no reason in particular. I see someone who doesn’t find joy or happiness except when they are making those around them miserable.

Running everyday is about that guy. It’s about that asshole. Quite literally, it’s about killing him. It’s about finding the joy and happiness I so long ago surrendered to anger and discontentedness. It’s about recapturing what once was and what can be again.

So you see, not only am I finding happiness in 28 Days I’m also finding an execution. I putting death someone who should have died years ago. I putting death someone who has caused me much hurt and difficulty. I’m putting to death the traitor who has supplanted me and all but taken over my life.

I want him dead. So I run…

Like a Child

I had the opportunity to feel like a child two times today.

The first was as I sat in church. I had a feeling of loneliness. It’s strange how even in a crowd we can still feel alone. I think Kid’s feel this way often. They feel like no one else can understand hoe they are feeling. Especially the times when they feel alone. The reality is, we all feel alone and lonely at times. I think at our core we are designed to not be alone. We are designed to be in community, to have others around us alongside us in life. This is why feeling alone evokes such a strong feeling inside of us. Feeling alone is counter to how we were designed to feel.

The second time I felt like a child, is as stepped out of the house to run in the rain. There’s something childlike about running in rain. I love running in the rain. There is something peaceful about running in the rain. It calls me back to being a child and I sorta feel like I’m getting away with something. There’s a childlike innocence to running in the rain. I love it.

It’s fun to feel like a child every now and again. To be free of responsibility. To be free of worry. But it’s also nice to be an adult.

Mental Toughness

I’ve always thought running is a mind game. There’s a physical aspect to it to be sure. But, your body gets conditioned and once you start running adding miles is easier than you would think. At some point, you will be on a run and your mind will break down. Your body is capable of finishing, but your mind doesn’t want to. I’d like to confess those are the best runs. But they aren’t. They suck. They hurt. And they are terrible. Because the mental game is harder than the physical game.

I have learned a principle that is true across all areas of life. I have seen it most often in running and in Crossfit workouts.

The pain is temporary.

At some point, the run will be over. Your body and mind can rest. The WOD will end and you can lie on the floor praying to die.

This is true for experiences we have at work too. I work in child welfare. And there are seasons when the crap just piles up. You dread going to work because you have to wade through the difficult and hard. And sometimes we wade through the horro that can be the depravity or some parents.

But it will end. The tasks will hbe completed. Reports written. Children safe. Bosses made happy and checkboxes checked.

Knowing there is an end is sometimes the only way to push through. Having a strong mind that isn’t easily broken. Makes it possible to finish.

The same is true of being a parent. Kid’s make it hard sometimes. We make it hard sometimes. We fail. They fail. We all fall apart sometimes. In the end, we love our kids and they love us. In the end, their best interest is in the forefront of our minds. I have to remind myself of this when the boys are fighting constantly. When they argue and scream at each other. When they reuse to listen and give attitude in response to everything we say to them. When I lose my cool and flip out on them.

Fortunately, life isn’t about being perfect. It’s about learning. It’s about growing. It’s about becoming something better than when we started. Failing is a part of it. Being overwhelmed is a part of it. Having your mind break on occasion is a part of it.

Life isn’t measured by how many times we get knocked down. It’s measured by how we respond to string knocked down. Do we have the mental toughness to push throw and overcome?

28 Days to Happiness

Last week Ronda challenged me to think of an activity, act, or something I could do everyday for the next month to increase my level of happiness. (Apparently, I don’t portray an overly happy person.) I immediately told her I knew what I was going to do – complain about everything, daily.

She politely informed me I was missing the point.

It caused me to think about what brings me joy, happiness. My next thought was writing. I don’t we’re much anymore. Years ago, it was catharthis and helped me through a dark time. Those words were compelling. That connected with people at their core. I haven’t found the words to connect with people in the same way. Ronda encouraged me that I do have the words, I just need to find them. Starting my career over at 39, hitting 40 and struggling with that, being a dad of 3 boys, and the constant inner dialogue of realization I don’t really measure up to anyone’s standards.

The next thing I thought of was running. I love running. Or, at least I did until I ran a marathon a few years ago. There’s an ache in my heart for running. I want to recover that.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m committing (to myself more than anyone else) to run everyday in February and to write some words daily. Day 1 was a lackluster start. I ran 0.6 miles thanks to a needy 7 year old. I wrote… just wrote some family assessments for work and not anything personal. Today is Day 2 and it is off to a much better start. I’m writing this 1.74 miles into today’s run.

Follow me writing here and sharing on instagram here.

As I prepare to embark on this journey, I recall the whispered words in Celldweller’s song Fadeaway – ‘don’t beat on me, I’m nothing’. I fear I will let us all down (well really only me, because your expectations were much lower than mine).

Here’s to victory or failure, which road I may be on.

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