This week Food For Thought Friday has asked us to think about Landmark in our lifes.
What, if any, have been your particular landmarks, either in relation to your blog or your wider life?
Do you have any future goals/landmarks you want to achieve? What are they?
I have been very quiet this month for a number of reasons. The first was my study. With the end of my module came assignment pressure and extra work took over. Alongside this life has thrown me an unwanted curve ball; managing this has taken up a lot of energy but also marks a significant shift in my wellbeing. Previously an episode like this would have floored me, but this time I have held my own… battered but not beaten. This in itself is a landmark achievement for me.
But it is not the one that I want to talk about today!
As I have mentioned previously I like to run. It was the one thing I was allowed to do for me while I was married, and after a couple of years break and significant weight gain the return of Sir heralded my return to running in January last year. Since before I met him I had the goal of wanting to run a marathon, and when he departed again in the summer he left me the task of running a marathon by the end of February. Losing him again was painful, but I had a goal. He had set me a task because he believed I could do it, even though I didn’t quite have the belief in myself. All winter I trained, loving the longer distances, the freedom of the miles, the openness of the big sky over my head. I had the race date for the start of february, a gloriously hilly first marathon. Local enough that I knew the area and could practise parts of the route. My beloved Dartmoor. Races leading up to the big day went exactly as planned. The longest run felt amazing and I could have carried on all day. I was ready! Body, mind, and soul working together.
My landmark moment had arrived.
Or so I thought. The start of February brought snow to Dartmoor, the race was postponed. I went out for a marathon distance run that day, and ended up with an injury, catching the train home from half way. I was left feeling like I had failed Sir in my task. I wouldn’t be able to achieve the marathon I had been tasked with, I wondered why I should even bother to find another marathon seeing as I had let him down. What was the point? I had this one-sided conversation with a friend, venting my frustrations at him in text form. And as I let all the pain and frustration out my memory was jarred to Sir’s response to a task the previous summer. A plan had fallen through and I had needed to scrabble around to fulfill the brief. After everything had been sorted I had explained the level of stress which had threatened to overwhelm me, I was so upset about disappointing him when something outside of my control had happened. His response had obviously struck a chord with me:
N, you have never let me down. You always try your hardest and do everything you can to achieve my expectations, you have never let me down or disappointed me.
This exchange surfaced in my mind as I spilled the bitter disappointment at Slave Lytton. And from this came the realisation that I had not let him down at all. I had been ready. I had done everything possible to make sure that I could complete the marathon in the time frame he had set me. Yes, I was disappointed, and I would probably always feel like I could have done more, but… those where the last whispers of depression and I had to believe in myself.
So I started hunting for a replacement race.
A marathon that I would enjoy for my first time, and one that fit into my child free weekends. And one that would allow time for my knee to recover, but without being too far away for me to lose the momentum. Finding more races to keep me inspired in the meantime, I stumbled across a marathon. A new one. Fairly hilly, well located, beautiful views, and most importantly….lots of cake for finishers! The date was set for the beginning of May. I spent the next two months rebuilding my distance and regaining my confidence. It was during this time that I realised that sir had set me this task because he knew how much I wanted to achieve it, even though I didn’t quite believe that I would be able to do it. Even as I sit here typing that I can feel the tears pricking at my eyes. He knew he wouldn’t be here, but wanted me to grow without him, to finally learn to believe in myself unequivocally, in the same way that he always had.
What a gift to leave me with?
Roll on to the start of May. I don’t know how many of you have completed a marathon, I had no idea what I would actually feel like during the race or after the race, but the entire event just blew me away. I loved it, the whole damn thing! I can’t believe that I hadn’t believed in myself all along, that I hadn’t found the courage to train for and enter a marathon before then. There were a few moments when I stopped smiling, and they were in the third quarter (I’m told this is a normal time to find it hard) when I realised that I wouldn’t be able to tell sir that I had completed his task, and to thank him for believing in me. When I finally reached that finish line I jumped for joy. My amazing friend S-W-L had driven for hours to come and cheer me across the line. I jumped for joy, and couldn’t stop babbling about how proud of myself I am. The first time I have ever felt proud of myself without first having to have someone (including myself) convince me that I should be proud.
So that is my landmark moment, and the lesson that has translated from BDSM to everyday life to allow me to achieve.
But what is next? Do you think I am going to stop there?
Nah, I don’t think I could enjoy a life without challenging goals to achieve.
To paraphrase a very important man: Set a goal, plan, achieve, take stock and set a new goal. [Repeat]
Next stop is an ultra…. watch this space!
Check out what else is happening over at Boobday.