Saturday, May 24, 2014

Tenacity Disorder

My friend, who I spoke about last week, is one of the most remarkably determined, perseverant people I have ever known. 

In common parlance, this is known as a "BADASS."

She told me recently that the ability to just keep going, even when you don't want to, is a gift that hiking gave her.

She started hiking when we were teenagers, and since then has hiked to the top of Mount San Gorgonio in Southern California (nearly 12,000 feet high, the tallest peak in SoCal and part of the mountain range where we grew up) five times, as well as many other significant hikes.

"Every single time, I reach a point where I think, there's no way I'm gonna make it," she said. "And that's the point where you just have to forget about the big picture, and look down and put one foot in front of the other and just keep going. And that's what gets you to the top."

Now, what I know about this particular woman is that nothing has ever kept her from getting to the top of anything she wanted to get to the top of, long before hiking came into the picture. She was born with the gift of knowing how to look down and put one foot in front of the other when that was what was called for, and she has done it despite astonishing odds and has created a remarkable life because of it.

Those kinds of folks rarely know they are those kinds of folks. They're too busy being awesome to realize they're the awesome ones everybody's trying to be like.

So when I pointed out to her that, well, hiking didn't so much give her that gift as give her a great metaphor for her really simple and powerful (not to mention effective) life-long worldview, she thought about it for a bit and had to agree.

"Tenacity disorder," she announced. "That's what I have. There's a new one for the DSM."

"Most of us would pay a pretty penny to catch that," I said. "Maybe you should learn how to bottle and sell it. You could make a fortune!"

"It's the wisdom to apply it to the right things that may be the crucial missing element," my wise friend replied, wisely. "But I could probably upcharge for that add-on."

There are certainly worse lessons to have to learn.

Her point in telling me the hiking story was to say that she was wishing for that sort of metaphorical reference for someone else in her life right now who needs it. Someone who could use a visceral, muscle-memory reminder that if you just look down and put one foot in front of the other and forget the rest, you will get there. Just keep going. One step, then another, then another after that. You will get there. One step at a time, you can't help but get there. The destination will be here before you know it if you just. Keep. Walking.

It was so hopeful, this message of simple perseverance from a woman whose life is proof that such things can produce very good results indeed. So inspiring and accessible and true.

And it reminded me that it's the message I need most right now, myself. And that I even have a muscle-memory example of my own to refer to when I try to borrow some of her amazing tenacity and bring it into my own life and get things moving at a bit of a brisker pace around here.

The Effexor does not have a turbo button, as it turns out. I may have to, you know, get up off the couch on my own. :/

I've been thinking about this a lot lately anyway, as I do when plans for exercise start coming back into the mix.


And not just running.

Running a half-marathon.

It's my sister's fault. Two of my sisters' faults, actually. They got me interested in running, got me to give it a try, got me to prove to myself and the world that I could do it, and then they continued on and became running badasses and now run half marathons like they're going out of style.

And somewhere in there, I went from thinking no way in hell will I ever to holy shit what if I did?!

I've been kicking this goal around in the back of my head for a long time now, and I think it's time to break it out and get it going. Put myself back on a running plan, and get myself moving again.

In truth, running was actually what brought me to blogging, the first time around. I am not sure this blog would be what it is if it weren't for my fledgling running venture and my first 5k, and the Facebook posts and blog that sprung up around that whole thing.

It even talks about my accident a bit, and plants the seed for this work, which began a year later.

It was a pretty good read, if I do say so myself. If you want to...


So there's me for this week: trying to catch me a case of Tenacity Disorder. I'll let you know how it goes. Also trying to get started with the running. That will be a slow beginning, literally if not figuratively. I'll let you know about that, too. Even post the plan I use.

Because if I can run, anyone can. You can do it with me! We can all run a half-marathon together.

I hear there's a simple trick to making it: look down, let everything else fall away, and just put one foot in front of the other. 

Sooner or later, you can't help but get to where you going if you just keep taking all your steps in the right direction.

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