Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Go Get It!!!!

When you see something you want, go after it. If you've been drooling for a while, don't keep sitting there because eventually you'll drown!

I believe in making an adventure out of every day. When I didn't feel good last year, I wasn't doing that. I was fatigued and depressed. I felt like I wasn't living life fully. My running went down to almost nothing, and my enjoyment of life went with it. Everything I do in my life suffered. I wasn't sleeping, and my fatigue got to a point where I felt unable to function, until one day I had one of those experiences when you hit bottom.

None of us know how long we'll be here. If you listen to cancer survivors, you hear many of them say how much the experience made them change their behaviors, and their attitude toward life. When you get a reality check on your mortality, appreciating every day and making the most of it becomes a higher priority than ever before.

It's not necessarily to have a life-threatening illness to take that attitude, though.

Why not make the most out of every experience you feel is worthwhile? Why live life halfway, making a half-assed effort toward doing things?

For so many years I always wanted to do Badwater and never could get it all together, between the time, money, health, fitness, and most of all, energy. I've suffered from fatigue at various times, for years. You might ask, how can you run ultras and have fatigue? Well if you talk to many ultrarunners you'll find out that many of them do far more training miles and race events than I ever do. I have had to learn to manage it.

Even when I'm balancing things and managing my energy well, I still have fatigue. I am starting to learn that it's not so much fatigue but when my energy is misdirected. Being a creative person presents problems for the people who like everything to be black and white. I find myself living this theme over and over again in my life, because people don't know what to do with me.

You know, the people who don't color outside the lines, because that messes things up and they get off track with the plan. I drive them crazy. They like a safe, comfortable, narrow little tunnel to live in. When I let too much of my energy get caught up into their tunnels, it makes me crazy. I get tired of beating my head against the brick walls of their tunnels. I get frustrated, angry, and eventually, if I let it go too long, depressed.

I like to live my life so I can do things. I don't do brick walls, lines, or coloring books unless they have blank pages. I don't like to feel like I'm being restricted or held back from living to my potential. I have two choices. Shrivel up and die, or rebel and break out.

One of the clearest memories for me in the entire Badwater run was in the last 5 miles. I was powering up the final ascent to Whitney Portal on that impossibly steep road, and making great time on my sub 48 hour goal. One of the finishers ahead of me was on her way down in her support van after leaving the finish line. The van slowed down as it approached me, she hung her head out the window and dangled her finishers medal, and yelled, "GO GET IT!"

In my sleep deprived, euphoric haze, I'm sure I cut a few extra minutes off my finish time just by the little boost she gave me with those words.

Recently I was losing a lot of my energy in anger and frustration over a situation at work where I was not getting my needs met. I've taken a lot of steps to correct that and I am doing better all the time. There are things I'm unable to control, that are interfering with my "GO GET IT!". So I've had to take an alternate path, and it's taking me time and effort to clear the debris from that path so I can travel it.

Sometimes we can learn things from unexpected events. Sometimes we encounter people in our lives, and we don't understand why, but they make a huge difference.

I have a friend who is dealing with horrible anger, from a situation over which he has little control. When he is at his worst, it's painful to be anywhere near him, he exudes toxic, negative energy. He knows this, but he doesn't seem to be able to control it.

That's how he's coping with things right now, and no one is going to change that except him. I tried too hard to reach out to him and he wasn't having any part of it, he needs to do things on his own, his own way. So I've backed way off and let him know that I'm still here and I care what happens, but I'm staying away.

When he is able to let go of the anger, he is one of the most enjoyable people in the world to be around. I've learned a ton from him and his enthusiasm helped propel me to get off my butt and make a Badwater finish a priority, and in many ways he has been pivotal in helping me see where I need to go from here in my life's work. He's inspired me, including the times when he's been at his worst.

It's important to me to honor those people in my life. This past week I had a really nice conversation with that friend, one of the first we've been able to have in a long time. I caught him in a rare moment, when he'd let go of his anger. I appreciate him so much, anger and all, in ways I've tried to tell him but there really aren't any words for that. What it means to me is all wrapped up in the energy that's carrying me forward in my pursuit of new and exciting endeavors.

I'm off for a run now, and then I'll come home and get back to work. There's a lot to do.



JeffO said...

I worked with lots of angry homeless people in Amarillo years ago. I too tried so hard to help but in the end I realized there wasn't much I could do. Most of them were there because they had to work it out. There wasn't any way I could work anything out for them. No way I could make them care.
The first three decades of my life were completely wasted. Mostly my fault. I set my horizons too low and I wasn't selfish enough to want more. You have to WANT! You have to allow yourself to want.
But how can you help others to want or care? I never figured that out.
Good luck in 2010, Alene!

Alene Gone Bad said...

Hey Jeff! Happy new year!
I hope I'll see you more this year than I did last year!

Anger is something that comes from some other place, and it has to be unearthed in order to deal with it, and then you can move forward.

Sometimes feeling lack of control over a situation seems like the only way it will ever be, but there are different ways to think about it that can give a person more power over their circumstances, or at least give them more power in dealing with their feelings and in changing their behavior.

It's hard to watch someone from the outside, when you see what you think will work for them, but they are the only one who can do anything about it. It's hard to sit on your hands when someone you care about is hurting.

But that is the kindest thing you can do for them. Sometimes that's a hard lesson to learn.

I am actively working to change my OWN situation, and going after what I want is going to be a gift, both to myself, and I hope to a lot of other people as it begins to take shape and gains momentum.

Good discussion for a long ometime. Stay healthy and happy, Jeff, and we'll have to get together for a run soon!

Patricia Singleton said...

Alene, good answer for Jeff. You can't change another person. They have to want it for themselves or it isn't going to happen.

If you have ruled out any physical reasons for your fatigue, it could be emotional. I have lived with being bone tired for most of my life. It comes from my incest issues and all of the anger that I carried around inside of me for so many years.

Depression is anger turned inward. Anger can be very damaging to the body that is carrying it around inside. It can cause physical damage like migraines, stomach problems, high blood pressure, ulcers, arthritis as well as other problems.

You are an inspiration with your running.

Alene Gone Bad said...


Thank you for your comment. I've been a nurse for just a little over three years. I feel like I've had so much learning and growth and personal insight in that short time, from the constant exposure to patients and their families and the past issues they bring with them.

Work has created all sorts of triggers for me from my past. I've done a lot of personal healing work, but as a nurse in ICU, seeing it in other people who have not done healing work themselves can be very painful for me at times.

I can't help them directly, but I can see it so clearly. It especially hurts to know so well the physiological impact on one's body from years of carrying around anger and resentment. I have to remember to detach myself from it, and my recent experience with this friend who has so much healing to do, has been a huge trigger for me.

For me, fatigue comes from several sources, one is an autoimmune thyroid condition that can be triggered by stress. Another is that I'm perimenopausal. And another is the day-to-day encounters with these triggers to things that I realize now, even though I've done much healing work, these things never really go away, they are part of you forever.

Life is an adventure, good and bad. I'm running to keep the good things coming my way. I'm working on a career move that I think will be personally and spiritually fulfilling for me, too.