When was the last time you truly found a breaking point in your life? A chink in your armor so to speak; a weakness you didn’t think you had, or that you had hoped deep down didn’t exist? It isn’t a happy place to be, but this was where I found myself last week. We have had some significant changes at work in the past month (just google Dean Foods earnings release to learn more), which have manifested themselves into a much more stressful work environment than we had before. This time of year always gets tough with next year budgets and end of year targets that need to be achieved, but this announcement has had a significantly larger impact than even I expected. In short, it has created an amount of additional stress than I just didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with as I was trying to build and peak for Xterra Nationals. The stress and workload from work by itself is manageable, but in conjunction with the expectations that I put on myself to perform well at nationals, in addition to some big bets that Jaime and I are making with our clinic and the stress that comes along with that, I found that I had overloaded the systems drastically. This was not a gradual increase. Honestly, it hit like a sledgehammer. I had to adjust. I sacrificed the one thing that could be sacrificed, which was my goals and experience at Xterra Nationals this year. It is a decision that is sad, but one that I can’t really regret, as I didn’t and still don’t see another option.
I am a person who can deal with a lot; A LOT. I nearly double majored in college in finance and math. I like it when people say things like “this is really hard” or “it can’t be done”. I take it as a personal challenge that must be overcome. I saw this situation as a challenge to overcome. Sometimes though even the most experienced and respected mountaineers abandon their summit approach when it becomes clear that to continue to pursue the goal blindly will lead to unfortunate outcomes. I came to that conclusion a little over a week ago. I found out that I had a chink in my armor. It is apparently not as strong as I thought it was. It was a week ago Thursday that I finally decided to pull the plug on this season. I had missed every workout after the previous Saturday. I was working long hours, and finally on Thursday when I actually had time to get a workout in, I had no motivation to do anything. I was mentally beaten down. You see, these days at work are not only long, they are intense. To create an analogy to training, these are LT workouts all day long at work. They will leave you spent if done too many days in a row without a break. This is where I find myself now.
This place I’m in now, and where I will be in for the foreseeable future… The real question is, does this type of life make sense for me? Is this what I want in life? Can I accept these types of interruptions in the life I want to live, whether they be 2 weeks or ½ a year long? Can I weather these in the name of a “comfortable” living? I think it may be more of a philosophical question than one of practicality. Can I do it? Yes, of course I can. Will I be happy with myself if I keep sacrificing the things in my life that make me “me”? What is the benefit of this type of living? I can become a better “consumer” and buy more shit that I don’t need or want. Sure, and the GDP will be thankful. But will I become poorer because I have sold my soul for pennies on the dollar? I will be asking myself these questions until I find balance in life again with myself and my job. Honestly, I like what I do. I couldn’t ask for a better company to work for, and even more so, I couldn’t ask for better people to work with. Unfortunately, the nature of a job in Finance, at least in my experience, is that it will many times challenge your work life balance. To be clear, my balance is really quite difference from most of the people I know. I consider balance being able to train for an hour in the morning and the evening, working 8 hours a day, and spending the rest of my day taking care of the small things around the house, maybe doing some reading and having good conversation, preferable with my wife, family, friends, neighbors, Tucker, or maybe as a last resort the tree if that is the only thing that wants to converse with me at the time. Honestly, I know the answer, I just don’t really know the solution.I haven often described this situation as a trap (my mind immediately goes to that crappy kids game mouse trap where you set up the most elaborate trap that hardly makes any sense, but it actually does work). When you have no financial commitments in life other than just making rent and buying groceries and paying a few bills, you have “one wall” of the trap built. When you have debts of any kind, you have 2 walls built. When you get married you have 3 walls built by the simple fact that you have someone else that matters in your life enough to consider them in the financial equation. When you buy a house that is a dramatic change in your debt profile, so I count that as wall number 4. When you have kids, you get the top put on your trap. That means you really are trapped. You’ve got to keep slaving away at whatever you are doing in order to provide for your family. The only way out is the trap door at the bottom. That is a philosophical discussion for another day. It may be an overly simplistic way to think of things, but you tell me if you see it differently.
I hope I can find the answer to this dilemma. Until then, I apologize, but this blog won’t have any posts about epic training sessions, ridiculous gains in fitness or even good paleo eating. It will most likely be deeper in philosophy about life, and whatever I need to get off my mind and onto “paper”. Ironically, I often write these posts down with good ‘ol pen and paper because I like to actually write. I do hope to not become completely detrained and out of shape, but it most likely won’t be worth talking about. Until the next post, good luck at nationals to everyone going. Keep the rubber down and go until you blow!