10556264_10202333621287051_7301369356249359033_nIt’s all about energy. Emotional, mental and physical. Energy is neither created nor destroyed but it is finite in its’ amount per moment in time. When you’re depleted emotionally, energy will balance itself by taking elsewhere……physically & mentally. And so on and so on.

And so it is with everything else. Relationships, jobs, family, hobbies, passions, eating, social life, physical activity, paying bills, grocery shopping, answering e-mails. We all basically do the same things everyday except in varying degrees and amounts depending on what is important to us. We are all the same and yet we are all different. We are all trying to do what makes us happy and for each person that is different. The experiences we have trying to do what makes us happy however, are only the result of our interactions with each other and the energy we put out there and the energy we absorb from everyone and everything around us. We are all connected. We are not alone. Each of our lives is unique but we all feel the same things from similar experiences that help us to relate and get through this thing called life.

Don’t worry, this is not a religious or existential post or an announcement that I’m leaving the country to live a Buddhist minimalist life on some remote island somewhere to find inner peace (though the thought has crossed my mind….more than once). I’m (finally) writing again simply because I have more bandwidth. More energy. ENOUGH energy. For the first time in over three years.

I’m still getting used to it. Used to seeing a positive balance in my accounts at the end of the month. Used to not living in fear. Used to not being in a primal survival mode. I don’t want to be over-dramatic and of course, there are far more people who were worse off than I was for longer than I was for very different reasons…..but the feelings from the experiences are the same. The damage is real both to myself and to those around me. I’m trying to own my part, move on and realize that we are all on different paths, growing and learning from each other and at the end of the day we all help….and hurt each other. It’s the human experience. I could choose to continue to carry that burden…..or I could choose to continue to live the way I’ve now learned to live: with positive energy, gratitude, laughter and love.

I made a choice. I wake up everyday living the life I’ve always wanted to live, working in a field that I’ve always wanted to work in and riding and racing my bike. I spend my free time doing only what is most important to me beyond my cycling lifestyle which includes art, reading and the relationships with my friends and family. When you deliberately choose to ‘follow your heart’ you are inevitably faced with all your demons, character flaws, fears and doubts; and if you want it bad enough, you either do it, or you don’t. Doing it means facing whatever demon you have with eyes wide open, brutal honesty and without a martyred attitude. You CHOOSE to change. I made those choices so many times over the last 3 years I don’t recognize the person I was and am, in many ways, embarrassed of my former self. I feel as though my personal growth rate the last few years has been exponential in relation to many around me and to the previous 30 years of my life. As my Aunt said during some of my darkest months a few years ago: ‘You are in the crucible burning and right now, it’s more than you can bare, but you will become who you want to be and live the life you want to live.’ She was right.

I did it. I did exactly what I wanted to do and set out to do. I am living exactly the life I want to live. How lucky am I? I’m not. It’s not luck. I gave up nearly everything, including my sanity, some of my best friends, financial security to commit to living the life I wanted to live. I nearly lost the fight, more than once. The reward I wake up with everyday came at a price larger than I would ever hope anyone else has to pay.

Part of the dream was to hopefully someday sign a pro cycling contract. Part of the dream was to be working in the cycling/fitness industry as a coach and trainer. Another part of the dream was to find a place that I felt like was home. I am walking……running all of those paths and deciding when I’ve met ‘success’ with any of them is, I’ve decided, a definition that only I can write; as it is with everyone else and their paths. There are no right or wrong answers, life isn’t black and white and success is such an enigmatic word that it is more often than not defined by others judgments, cynicism, comparisons and own life experiences. We all compare ourselves to each other, we all struggle to be genuinely happy for someone else’s achievements, particularly those of us who are hyper-competitive or ‘Type-A’ personalities. You want to be genuinely happy for a friend who just won a bike race, or just fell in love or landed that dream job and perhaps sometimes you are. If you quit worrying about what everyone else thinks is success, whether someone really believes in you or not, how others are comparing you and focus on your real strengths and weaknesses, the lens through which you view everyone else’s success suddenly becomes free of jealousy and cynicism. You find yourself genuinely happy for others because you have become genuinely confident in your own strengths and real about your own weaknesses.

There’s a lot of……verbage….that gets thrown around and I found a pattern. It all contradicts.

They only win locally
They’re winning everything locally
They’re never at road races
They win practically every criterium
They can’t race for anyone else
They’re strong but not smart
They’re smart but not that strong
They’re so nice, everyone respects them
They’re too nice, they’re not a fierce enough competitor
They’re up and down a lot in their results
They’re winning everything, they must be doping
They’re so lucky, they can buy whatever they want
They’re poor and always complaining, why don’t they just get a better job
They work so hard, that’s why they have a lot of money
They work so hard and still can’t pay their bills
They must be naturally skinny and can eat whatever they want
They watch everything they eat and exercise all the time, that must be why they’re so thin

I could go on….but. You get it.

The bottom line is, all of that is a waste of time and ENERGY. Stop comparing. Stop making stories in your head about everyone else around you. Stop making someone else’s actions and words all about you. Stop trying to make everyone else happy.

Start living in the moment. Start being present. Start being grateful. Start choosing to give positive energy. Start accepting positive energy. Start choosing the life you want to live. Start now.


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