Caught in between
Running has been my anchor for the last 15 years. And with that, OUTRUNCANCER has been its lifeblood, that made me feel invincible, contributing to something larger than myself, carrying the weight of the world while simultaneously exposing me to a world of opportunities.
OUTRUNCANCER has been more than just a mission; it has been my identity. It pushed me beyond my comfort zones, introduced me to amazing people, and made me a part of a community striving for a common goal: make a dent in the world. However, with COVID, OUTRUNCANCER took a hit from which we have not recovered. Something I am reminded of every day I wear my neon green tshirts, or walk into my home office with the OUTRUNCANCER mission statement on every wall.
This new reality has left me at a crossroads, struggling with an internal conflict that wears me down each day. Part of me, the stubborn part, clings to what once was, refusing to let go. The other part, the pragmatic one, whispers that it might be time for change, for something new. And so, the conflict continues.
Intellectually, I know what the right thing to do is - dust myself off, take the risk, maybe even start anew. Yet, my heart hesitates. It feels like a betrayal, like I'm abandoning a cause I've poured my heart and soul into. But the fear of the unknown, the fear of failing again - they weigh me down. And so, the loop continues.
However, in the quiet moments of introspection, I feel a spark. A spark of new ambition, of a desire to stretch myself beyond what I've done before, to commit myself to something that demands even more from me than OUTRUNCANCER ever did.
But am I ready? Ready to lean into this new ambition? Ready to let go of the past to make way for what could be? Does leaning into something new mean I have to give up what I've achieved in the meantime – a stable home, some financial comfort, a chance to breathe, and nights of peaceful sleep?
And why, suddenly, do these things matter when they never used to? Whose reflection am I trying to live up to?
It's an outpour of questions, adding to the loop of my internal struggle.
But as the saying goes, "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."
I know I'm built for more.
I know I'm built to navigate the stormy seas, to chart a new course.
It's a daunting prospect. Is it one I'm ready to face?
As a parent, I've discovered a newfound admiration for this role – a role that demands relentless dedication and boundless love. Parenthood is, without a doubt, a tough gig. Every day, we show up, we put forth our best efforts, we give our all for our children. Of course, 'our best' cannot be objectively measured on a scale; it's deeply personal and based primarily on commitment and effort rather than a predefined outcome. I firmly believe this principle applies universally to all parents.
However, there are some parents who transcend the ordinary, those who rise to exceptional challenges, navigating life's extreme social, financial, and health circumstances with unwavering tenacity. One such example of extraordinary parenthood that I deeply admire is that of Dick Hoyt.
Most people have heard of or seen Team Hoyt in action; their feats have inspired people all around the world. Dick Hoyt pushed, pulled, and carried his son Rick, who was born with cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons, including the Ironman World Championship.
For more than 40 years, until Dick was 73 and Rick was 52, they competed together, defying all odds. Dick pushed Rick in his wheelchair in over 1,000 races, including 32 Boston Marathons, and achieved a personal marathon best of 2:40 - while pushing an adult in a wheelchair. Let that sink in for a moment.
The duo became a symbol not only for physical endeavors, but also of inclusion and education, with Rick advocating for a world where individuals of all abilities could pursue their dreams without limits. To me, this is a powerful testament to the profound impact a parent's love can have.
I can only imagine the long hours of training, the shared struggle of endurance, and the collective triumph of crossing the finish line together that fostered an unparalleled connection between Dick and Rick. That connection was interrupted two years ago when Dick passed away at the age of 80. Now, perhaps not surprisingly, the connection is being reformed as Rick, at 61, recently passed away too.
It is my hope that "there is a place" after this human life where Dick and Rick can run together once again. Thank you, Dick and Rick Hoyt, for living lives filled with courage, resilience, and love.
Technology is magic
This afternoon I had an online town hall meeting scheduled during lunch break, and a pressing errand to run to the post office.
So I combined the two things and, because I didn't have the car available, I ended up running to the post office, tuning into the town hall on my phone, via my bluetooth headset, over the mobile network.
The live stream flowed seamlessly, with crystal-clear audio, all while I was on the move. As I ran and listened, I couldn't help but marvel at the miracle of modern technology at our fingertips.
This got me reflecting on the incredible evolution of technology and communication infrastructure over the last 30 years.
What a journey it's been, starting from my first interaction with an 8088 computer for my dad's furniture business and assembling my first 486 PC in the early '90s.
Every day, I am left astounded by the capabilities of our modern devices. Perhaps my sense of wonder is heightened by my understanding of the intricate processes that go on behind the scenes, but I find the advancements staggering.
And the trajectory seems to continue at a ever faster pace. There appears to be no limit to potential applications and innovation.
But does the average person truly appreciate the magical world we live in?
Will my children be curious about how everything works behind the scene, at a "foundational level" like I do? (And admittedly, I don't even scratch the surface of what is really going on passed a certain point)
Just last week, I found myself discussing the concept of "downloading an app" with my 9-year-old.
His understanding of the process seems to operate at a level far removed from mine, and I realise that my perspective isn't necessarily relevant to him, or to the majority of the world for that matter.
So, what does this mean for us as a society?
It appears that technology has already reached a level of abstraction that negates the necessity to comprehend what's happening behind the scenes. We accept our devices as magic boxes that we interact with, no need to peek inside the black box. While the consumer in me finds this convenient and perfectly appropriate, the old-school techie in me feels a tinge of nostalgia. Those days of tinkering with hardware and software, for the joy of making a screen blink, seem to be long one.
Regardless, I'm excited to see where this technological rollercoaster will take us next.
I maintain my positive outlook, very cautious and skeptical, but positive.
To fully embrace oneself — to be deeply rooted in personal mission, belief, dreams and passion — is the pinnacle of self realisation.
This is no trivial challenge, yet some individuals manage to conquer it, thereby transcending their mere human existence and becoming radiant beacons of inspiration. These unique individuals, found across the spectrum of life, often in the most unexpected places, live out astonishingly diverse yet equally surprising stories. Whether they paint the Mona Lisa or engineer rockets, explore the depths of philosophy or the Mariana Trench, they share a common thread: they are all artists in their own right.
Yesterday, while visiting the Australian Zoo with my family, I had the opportunity to delve deeper into the story of one such remarkable individual, Steve Irwin.
This larger-than-life figure was an artist of nature, a masterful storyteller who weaved his life's work around the simple yet powerful narrative of conservation. Observing the zookeepers, trainers, volunteers, and even my own kids, all inspired by Irwin's infectious energy, I was filled with immense admiration for Steve's courage to fulfill his calling. I have no doubt it wasn't an easy task. Most of the time, it must have felt like an impossible feat, a solitary fight against the rest of the world.
As I walked through the zoo, I found myself more captivated by Irwin's story than by the animals. His photographs, forever capturing moments of him fully immersed in his work, held my attention in every detail. His gaze was captivating, his stance confident, his movements and words full of passion. Each image, each recorded phrase, seemed infused with the boundless spirit of a man who lived his dream and was unapologetically himself.
It's moments like these that remind me of the profound impact one individual can have, simply by embracing who they are and living their truth.
Scared of some cold water. Really?
For all of its restorative properties, my ice bath stirs up a surprising amount of anxiety within me.
There, I said it. There's this nagging voice in the back of my mind that murmurs, "Not today" each time I glance at the empty chest freezer.
When I left for my trip to Italy, I emptied and cleaned it. Since returning I ... procastinated.
The idea of filling it up, seeing the temperature gauge dropping, the thought of the water gradually dipping to freezing point, have created a mental barrier.
I know it's silly. I understand that the act of overcoming this apprehension, taking that leap into the ice cold water, is precisely the purpose of the ice bath. Each time, no matter how many times you've done it, the water remains just as shockingly cold, the impact is just as real. It doesn't become a walk in the park, ever. And yes, that feeble excuse I tell myself - "we're not in summer anymore" - it's just an excuse. Because the season makes little difference once you're already submerged in the ice-cold water!
So, it's time for action. Today. Right Now.
No more excuses, no more running from the inevitable. All it takes is a deep breath, a hard look in the mirror, and the courage to confront the truth.
It's just water.
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