This week while living at my in-laws (recall I am out of my house currently b/c of never-ending construction that I know I will someday appreciate) I was looking for something to read. I wanted something light, cheesy; something to fall asleep by. The hub and I are sleeping in my brother in-law's old bedroom, and I found The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck sandwiched in his bookcase. I pulled it out.
The Road Less Traveled belongs to a collection of books I associate with my late high school years. At that time I loved the self help section of the bookstore, which I believed held the secret to understanding myself and all the people on which I had crushes. These were books I reasoned would help me to become wise and deep beyond my years. Sure, most of them were intended for those in mid-life, but I was mature. I could appreciate such poignant reads as The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, A Gift from the Sea, The Fountainhead and Letters to A Young Poet. All are required reading for the seriously deep teenager.
Peck opens with the platitude, Life is Difficult.
But then I paused. Life is difficult.
Later he says, that personal growth is a "complex, arduous and lifelong task."
I get it. I really do. But sometimes I forget... Or maybe most of the time I forget?
I think, sometimes, I believe that life should not be so hard--and that happiness should be the dominant feeling in one's life. We all deserve happiness. I deserve happiness. Something is wrong if one is not happy.
Ironman World Championships. Difficult. A "complex, arduous, and potentially lifelong task."
Ironman is life in a bottle. Uncorked it takes under 24 hours to play itself out. And we watch with intensity, fervor, hope, fear. We want the athletes to overcome the adversity of it, but we also watch with relish when one gets a penalty, a flat, must drop out, is disqualified.
Ironman is a way to confront life and take it on. Real life, raw life. Competing in these races, even the shorter ones that I have done, is hard. They are difficult. They hurt. Just like it's supposed to be--like life is supposed to be. And through the difficulty meaning is achieved.
Because if we can get through the adversity, there is joy. And if we don't really get through the adveristy? If we have a bad race, or worse a DNF? We pick ourselves up, and go back at it. The next episode will be better.
I want to take on Ironman. To do well at it I must take on the difficulty of it--the enormity of it. I know it's going to be very hard. I need to keep reminding myself that I don't expect Ironman to be easy--and I should not expect life to be either. I embrace that Ironman is hard. It makes it more worth it that it is.
This is the same with life.