Sunday, March 23, 2014
When Being Completely Irrational Is Good For You
Yesterday Terry and I rode 109 miles beginning at 3:00 am and ending around 8:00 pm. Terry decided that we should do this because in December I turned fifty four and she turned fifty five, hence the total of 109 miles. There were many good reasons to try to do this--showing what older riders can do--showing what Corollas and Shackleford and Choctaws and and other mustangs could do-- showing my little riders how to stick with a goal even when it becomes difficult--to promote and pubicize our program--and many other rational reasons.
But the irrational reason is the most important to me. All of life involves struggle. Second only to integrity, the character trait most important to me is resilience. Resilience is simply the refusal to give up. It does not mean that one always wins. It means that one always shows up to play---and plays hard. The resilient always achieve more than the nonresilient if for no other reason than math--the more games one plays in, the more times one shows up to fight, the more opportunities to accomplish things that matter.
My greatest fear is not death. My greatest fear is to die without having mattered.
And that is where the irrational meaning of this ride matters for me. With every challenge comes a voice in the head that says "Don't do it. You can't do it."
And a much louder voice answers it back, "Hell I can't! At age 54 I rode 109 miles in a day-- the vast majority of those miles being at a trot or canter."
Successes like this breed resilience. The last 44 miles were excruciating. We never considered ending the ride early.
The most personally signifiant part of the ride is that I did not quit. I did not ride today.
Weather permitting, before the sun comes up in the morning I will run a horse 6-8 miles before going to court. My body will have bounced back by then.
There is no rational connection between riding 109 miles and believing that you can handle whatever comes at you.
It is not rational. It is just real.
Posted by Steve Edwards