The last time I saw my wonderful mother-in-law, she was sweet enough to loan me three books that Marc and I had gotten for her. I got her into Anne Lamott a couple of years ago, and it's so nice to share a love for her and her brilliant writing.
I read a line that cut me so deeply I had to laugh out loud:
"Maturity is the ability to live with unresolved problems." - Anne Lamott
This is something I struggle with so much. As a control freak, I like for things to get wrapped up in neat and tidy boxes, and I don't like loose ends. I've written before about how much I struggle with uncertainty, and I know I'm not alone in that regard.
This spring and now well in to summer, this has obviously been manifesting itself in my slow-to-heal hip, and the question that no doctor or PT has answered for me yet - Is it realistic to think I could run the NYC Marathon this November? That I could not just run it, but run it in good health and cross the finish line with a smile on my face and a happy hip?
I've had the time to grieve the possibility of deferring it to 2019, and I'm in a place while, though still bitterly disappointing, I can be more philosophical about it and keep perspective. I don't want to just run it because I can, I want to run it knowing it won't be a stupid decision leading to me jeopardizing my ability to run for the rest of my life, which is much more important to me than any race, even this one.
What's been tricky, though, as I've lived in this space of uncertainty is this: How do you bridge the gap between foolishly getting your hopes up for something unrealistic, and stubbornly believing in yourself with a relentlessly positive attitude against all odds?
Or to put it more simply: Is it stupid to walk around saying "I'm definitely going to run in November" when the truth is that I don't know? And that I might not be able to?
Or - is it defeatist to hedge my bets? Am I being negative? Am I not having the right attitude and sabotaging myself?
It's an intensely vulnerable thing to make a declaration, to set a goal - I'm going to run New York this November - that might not happen. To put that out there with the chance of having to walk it back and say, "Actually..."
It's especially vulnerable if you didn't really grow up with ideas like faith. I was taught to believe in myself and try my hardest of course, but I've never been a religious person. As spiritual as I am, I'm firmly agnostic because I can't say for sure if there is a God or there isn't. I'm a very literal person and I like to be (say it with me now) certain.
Putting a ton of blind faith in the notion that I will definitely, absolutely, no matter what heal in time - like Laura has done, which I could never express enough gratitude for because it has gotten me through so many rough days - isn't something I've been able to do 100%. The truth is, I just don't know.
So, what can I say 100%?
I can say that I will do everything in my power to run it this year. I will pull out all the stops.
I can't say yet if it will be this year or if it will be next year. Or God help me, the year after that.
It needs to be about the larger goal. Believing in my body's ability to heal in a larger and more general sense rather than tying my self worth to a time table. We all know our bodies don't care about our plans - sickness and injury can and do strike whenever they damn well please, and the best we can do is take care of ourselves to the best of our ability.
What I'm really saying is that I need to let go of the result right now. I need to let go of being certain and having the answer right now. It's hard to do when the result is so deeply important to me and something I've been working toward for over two years. Adding another year to that is not fun, and I'd like to emotionally prepare myself ASAP if that's what's going to happen.
Running is a passion. It's messily and inextricably mixed up in my identity. It's how I cope with stress. It keeps me sane. It's so much more than just a workout or just a hobby. People who flippantly tell me I should stop running have no idea what a big part of my life it is that they're suggesting I cut out. It's not an option.
All of this is to say - I'm deciding not to decide. The next two weeks will reveal a lot. I'm finally working out more in PT and at the gym. The Astoria pool is (finally!) open so I can add to my cardio.
I'm deciding not to decide in the interest of keeping hope and faith alive, and allowing there space to be an acceleration in my healing now that I'm in far less pain and doing far more work.
I'm working on getting comfortable with uncertainty.
I'm living in hope, but I'm also fully embracing the possibility of deferring, and looking for all the silver linings therein.
And best of all - I'm getting out of dodge for a week tomorrow. I blinked and my sister's 5-pound babies are turning four on July 16th. Time for me to go down and soak in as much family goodness as I can.
So - I will see this ol' thang in two weeks. And I will probably have an answer by then.
(But maybe not.)
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