Filling the Miles
It has been an interesting ride the past 4 months with no traditional full time job. Like running, it has been a nice going-back to challenging what everyone else considers normal. Yes, there are days when the anxiety overtakes everything and the kids don’t care where money comes from as it must “just grow on trees.” The circle of friends that reach out and support grows smaller and smaller as everyone has their own issues.
Here are 3 questions I have been asked over the past month when people find out I’m not tied to a 9-5 corporate job:
How can you handle the uncertainty of not a steady paycheck?
For me, I know I can survive on not much. It’s the fact that I support 5 other humans in the world plus try and give back wherever I can. I can pack up everything I own or need probably in 2 boxes. Maybe that’s a product of what I grew up with, worldly view, or something deeper that I’ve found on those long runs. Some might call it maturity. Whatever it may be, it contributes a lot to my anxiety and running does help wear down some of that anxiety. Yet at the same time, running clears the mind and brings the logic of the real world front and center.
On a recent long run, I thought a lot about the idea of a “steady paycheck” and remembering where I came from. We see in the news often that we are just a car accident away from losing everything. I read a study somewhere that 66% of bankruptcies are triggered by a major health incident that leads to exuberant costs. Of course, that’s only in the United States as the rest of the world has already figured out the solution to that.
It also was a reminder of on the long run, really can survive quite a time on just water. Maybe this mental approach is why I do 90% of my training solo so that I don’t have to clash with the thinking of others and can live in my own world that appears to work for me. It’s challenging to have a conversation with others on the topic as many have their own journey they’re on, want you to fit in a box for them, provide something for them, or not able to change their view because they were raised to be wrong is a weakness.
What are you doing with all your free time?
I have time that is no longer controlled by others or the mood of someone in charge, but time is not free. My days are structured for sure as I have contract work I’m paid for, training for the next ultramarathon, meeting new business contacts for opportunities, a house which there is always something to maintain, 4 teenagers that have their needs, and the list goes on. Just listing that out I feel my anxiety rise. So, I control as I can and add structure to the days. Block out time of the day for things that produce money, activities that create happiness, and time to stop for relaxing and re-evaluating.
You must be well trained for your next 100 mile run?
On paper, yes I have been getting better at this. By better I mean allocating a block of time each day to focus on the moment of training. Which means I have been more consistent. As with most activities that push a person’s limit, much of the training comes down to mental. I have showed up to races physically ready and tanked because of something that crawled into my head. The same has also happened in reverse. Completely no sense in showing up to the starting line of a race yet achieve a finish time faster than 10 years ago. Knowing all of that, I have put reading time back into my days and trying to not rely on a show or tv for that relaxing. With reading, I get the relaxing but also strengthen the mind.
I get asked a lot of other questions and maybe I’ll explore more of them in future writings. What I do know is that time is the only thing we all have that is in limited supply. It should be treated as a currency and how you spend it is based on what you find value in. So the question is what do you want to do with your time?