Saturday, May 18, 2013

What do you do?

Life is all about change, right? As much as we might hate it, it's inevitable. Nothing stays the same forever.

So what do you do when the path you're on takes a sudden detour--and it's not exactly the one you want to be on?

As an example, let's take running. A couple of my friends were talking about running and races on Twitter today and so running is really on my brain right now. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I am (was?) a runner. I've run a few half marathons, and I loved it. Don't get me wrong, they are hard, but there's nothing quite like that high when you blast past the finish line and realize you really did it.

But the last one I did (when I PR'd by 28 minutes) really jacked up my knee. It's almost been a year, and I still can't run more than about 2-3 miles before it starts to hurt. I finally caved in and went to a sports medicine specialist a few months ago and found out I have arthritis in my knee and the more I run the faster it'll progress. I just turned 30 and I have arthritis. THAT SUCKS. Talk about a course change. He gave me some exercises to do to see if it helps, but he told me, "you might want to think about taking up biking or swimming."

It was devastating news. I'm not a natural runner. Yes, I have long legs, but they don't seem to want to take me places very fast. I've had to work REALLY HARD to get my speed up and break that two hour mark for my last half. I was thinking I'd finally attempt a marathon after that race, and then this happened. Sudden detour, much?

Running was more than just about beating a clock, or doing races, though. It was an escape. It was an accomplishment. There's something powerful about pushing your body through the pain and desire to quit and finish 13.1 miles running strong. I can only imagine what 26.2 would be like now, since he told me there's no way I should ever do a marathon unless I want to have (another)
knee surgery. It's been a rough adjustment not being able to get out there and pound out the miles. To not get that runner's high once in a while that keeps you lacing up and heading out, even in the snow or rain or cold or heat. I still worked out, but it's not the same.

So what now? When you get thrown a curve ball, what do you do?

I've heard the saying that when God closes a door, he opens a window. I'm still waiting for my window. Maybe once we can buy me a road bike and I can start putting in the (non-impact) miles, I'll find it. Maybe if I pull out my old swim team suit and goggles and get back in the pool, I'll find it. I don't think God just sets those windows right in front of us, so that we can find them while we're stuck moping on our behinds. Do you? Or maybe I'll adjust to only running short distances and find joy in that. Whatever it might be, I'm not going to give up.

My path to getting published was full of unwanted detours. Years to get an agent, years with the wrong agent (who was wonderful, but just not the right fit for me), nine more months to get another agent... it was rough. It was full of potholes and re-calculations and adjustments. But I kept going, I kept altering my course and trying, and wow. I am SO SO happy now. That window I found? It's been absolutely a dream come true. But it took seven years to get here. SEVEN YEARS. Oy.

So what detours have you been forced into taking in your life? Were you able to find joy and happiness, even if the path wasn't what you thought you originally wanted to be on?


Unknown said...

Detours. Interruptions. Totally wrong directions. I've tried them all but the satisfaction in finally getting there has been pretty freaking great. People ask me all the time, "So was it all worth it now that you're getting published?"


I'm not ready to say that just yet.

The pain of rejection and waiting, waiting, waiting is still pretty fresh in my mind. I think I need at least a couple 2 or 3 years of complete awesome to erase all that. :)

PS. I'm a cyclist myself and it is time-consuming but no achy knees, hips, lower back. So there's that. Running just grinds you down the older you get and sadly, you can never get your cartilage back once it's gone!

Kathryn Purdie said...

I've never been very athletic, but I have had to make big detours in my life...most especially when I had to give up acting for several years. It was too hard on my young children to be away every night for months on end to be in a play. But that creative void led me to pursue writing a few years ago. Now I can say with confidence that I love it just as much (many times more) than acting. Great blog post!

Tyler H. Jolley said...

Great post! Yes the road to getting published can be a rough one, but it's so worth it the first time you get to hold your beautiful book in your hands.

As an avid mountain biker, I highly recommend it!