A moment of your time…

Thank you, Aysha for this link to the story below. I want to take this time, on my birthday, to finally get something off my chest personally and publicly, so I can make the next year of my life better than the last one!

This past year, or at least the majority of 2014, has been filled with drama, heartache, turmoil, sadness, stress and disappointment. I had a long, scathing, melodramatic post written up about this which I figured it best NOT to publish but the long story short is that what happened to us with our former club back in January tore a hole in our hearts. I share the blame for the what, but I can’t forgive or understand the why behind it. I do know that what happened, and where we are now, has been a long and winding road but one that has led me, certainly, and I think I can say it has led us to a somewhat better place, but not a totally happy one – yet. And here’s what I want to say about it, without naming names or picking at old scabs.

I’m 38 today. If you’ve ever seen the movie “I Love You, Man” I’m Paul Rudd’s hapless Peter Klaven. I have found that my old friends are drifting away, and that as I get older it is harder and harder to make new ones. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t go out drinking or partying with the boys. Maybe it’s that I’m pretty much the minority at my age in my workplace. Maybe it’s that my old friends have new lives and new people in my life have their own friends. Maybe it’s geographic, familial, professional. Maybe it’s being a runner, which most people don’t relate to. Maybe it’s just me. Whatever the case may be, a few years ago I made a huge move in my personal life and decided to let some new people in; to trust them in the hopes that new friendships would spring from something as silly as a running club. I also put myself on the line to coach others, to help them improve and because I grew to care about them as people. I joined the club as a runner about 6 months after signing on as a coach because my wife was on the team and I thought it would be a cool thing for us to race for the same club. I also thought, incredibly, that a few people in particular were or could be my friends and I trusted them with my heart.

As time went on, though, I began to see clearly that things weren’t as they seemed. I voiced my concerns. I opened my mouth, or sometimes used my words when things didn’t sit right with me. The people who I thought I could be friends with chided me for having an opinion and the ones who were affected by the things that I was speaking out against seemed to understand why I was upset. Until winter of last year, when my opinions and my actions were no longer welcome, and the people I had sacrificed for – hindsight being 20/20, against my better judgement – no longed needed or wanted us around. So, after a few years of my life, I was not only right back where I started, but I was emotionally exhausted because people I thought were my friends or could have been weren’t AND those whose interests I had in mind didn’t all “have my back” when push came to shove. So I have spent the better part of 2014 trying to figure out who my real friends are, and who I need to let go.

Recently, I came to three conclusions:

I have very few real friends, and I bet if you all looked really closely at your own lives, your friend lists and followers and your contacts in your phone, you’d realize the same thing. I bet you are just too scared to do it. How many “connections” or “friends” or “followers” have you ever even met in real life? Have you ever grabbed a bite to eat with, looked in the eye, or talked to with actual words? I realized that there were too many that I wasn’t “friends” with, so I made a very bold decision in the past few months – to purge hundreds of so-called “friends” and to try to figure out who the real ones were. I also made another decision – to be selfish, at least in the one area I could control – my own running. I got myself a coach and I’ve been a dedicated and diligent runner for the past few months, because he is writing a plan for me – a personal plan with my goals in mind, not a general plan that is cookie-cutter/formatted for hundreds of people. I then made the decision to focus on helping my wife’s training progress, too and I think we have both benefited. The time I save on my own training plan can be spent on hers, and on the plans of those who I am lucky enough to coach – those who have our backs and those I can still trust. I’m not coaching anyone else for free; I’m not giving people test plans or samples. I’ll coach my real friends and my teammates, or I’ll coach people who I can trust and/or who pay me. That’s that!

I’ve found that it doesn’t matter how old you are – some of the youngest friends we have have been the strongest; some of the ones we’ve known the longest have been the biggest disappointments and some of the older ones who should know better just aren’t strong enough to see things for what they are. Some are waiting for the right moment to “make a move” and for some, the moment has passed. Some are still figuring things out, and hopefully some will eventually come around! Thankfully, I am strong enough – we are strong enough now – to realize all of this, and we are getting stronger every day!

One thing that helped, but probably hurt some people too was cutting them out of our lives, whether on social media or socially. And since things aren’t what they were, or what they were supposed to be, the people who were part of that old life needed to be let go of. People I trusted and was fiercely loyal to didn’t repay that trust, or haven’t yet and probably won’t. If you can’t reciprocate, I can’t waste my time or energy on you – it’s a losing investment. Even if things aren’t black & white – there is too much gray right now for us to wait for you. We will be here if and when things change, but we aren’t changing, due to what was done. Things broke; but we didn’t break them with some of the people that we had to let go of. Even if it’s because we simply don’t agree, well, it’s a pretty big thing to not agree on – right and wrong – so that needed to change, as far as who we are still friends with today. Maybe we tried too hard to fix things that people didn’t want fixed, or to right wrongs that others simply “deal” with, rather than try to fix themselves. Maybe it was time because people consistently doubted us and made us question our own worth – and no one should be treated that way. And maybe neither party benefited in any way from the relationship. If it’s not even mutual, it’s not worth the time or effort. Our old friends, and the ones we’ve since reconnected with and our new friends seem to be on the up-and-up. I hope, because we can’t get hurt again.

What do we do now? We put one foot in front of the other, which for me is both therapeutic and redemptive. I de-stress when I get out there and run, and I show the world what I can be when I cross that finish line. For my wife, it’s been a long journey to where she is now – don’t forget that she wasn’t removed as a coach, like I was but she was essentially kicked off of the team, for being associated with me or just for being too much trouble/not worth the effort and if anyone is worth it, it’s her. She and I have worked out a system of what she needs and how to set it up. She’ll shock the world sometime soon with a time that people never thought she could run – well, most people, at least. We have each other’s backs; some of you took a quiet stand by distancing yourselves from others, if not following us directly – which was greatly appreciated. A few of you truly care and went “all-in” with us, despite your own fears and the possible (or actual) “repercussions” for your choices. We will never forget that and owe you everything for that! If you’re somewhere in between, that’s a terrible place to be! Decide, with conviction, what you want, who you are and what you are all about – and be unapologetic about your needs! We may not agree, but we will understand and let you go!

If you need a reality check, read the article Aysha shared with me, which couldn’t have been better timed. These are things I needed to be more cognizant of and this helped me know not only that where I am now is “okay” (even if not ideal) and that we will be fine – with or without some people. Because the right ones are here now, and the ones who should be will be if they are really supposed to be in our lives. You know who you are!



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