Lately, I’ve been very reflective. Pausing a lot to think — think about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’d like to be (both in racing and in life). This summer was a big step for me — I completed my first Ironman at age 18, which had always been a goal of mine. It was an incredible feeling to cross the finish line with my dad; a rush of emotions and adrenaline that can only be experienced race-day.
This fall has been a transition period for me; moving from summer triathlon training to intense schoolwork, rowing, and otherwise here at Harvard. It took some adjusting to last year, but this year I absolutely love Cambridge. I have amazing roommates, other closer friends who make my experience here enjoyable and fulfilling. But besides all the exciting parts of being back at college — football games, social events, regattas, triathlons, meals out with friends, trips to Boston, and more — other things can become a bit overwhelming.
When I get overwhelmed, I tend to deal with it in a number of ways. One of them is reflection. I’ve found that this approach — both internal and external — can help manage the “Where do I go from here?” feeling that can eat away at not just me, but myriad other college students, athletes, adults, and more at various times in life.
Sometimes, especially at Harvard, I feel like everyone has everything figured out. Like people are rushing from moment to moment, place to place, class to class, without even thinking. Like people already have their entire lives planned out in their minds — graduate. Work in finance or consulting. And so on and so forth. Which makes me feel a little bit out of place, especially because I’m still debating what I want to concentrate in (Harvard’s word for majors, we have to decide by mid-November)! And I don’t have set concrete plan for the rest of my life.
This applies not only to my situation at college, but also with training. Sometimes, after finishing a big race or attempting a new milestone, we can come to a point where we need to decide where we want to go. Pick a direction. Pick a spot; a niche.
I think that sometimes, that’s the problem with our way of thinking. We don’t take enough time to reflect. To get lost. To understand that sometimes, it’s okay to not know where exactly you’re going from your current location.
This was best brought to my attention by Kaitlin — after she wrote a piece for YoungTri that included how she liked to get “lost” on runs (as in, run wherever the road takes her), but that she made sure to take her phone with her when she did so. So that she made sure to couple adventure with security.
And it kind of hit me that that would be a wonderful way to approach training all the time — and even life in general.
And as such, as of right now, I’ve been taking some time to let myself reflect. To know that wherever the road takes me will be the beautiful, right road where I’ve always meant to end up. Training, school, work, and social life are all a part of our puzzles — and they all have a way of working themselves out as long as we’ve pointed ourself in the general right direction.
It’s okay to not know exactly “Where to Go from Here?”. It’s okay to reflect. That’s what life is for. For figuring things out.
What have you been reflecting upon recently? Do you ever feel as if you’re at a stepping stone in life (but you don’t know where it’s taking you)?