Earlier this month, I attended my brother’s first collegiate track meet. When he finished second in his preliminary heat, losing to a senior teammate that was on track to break a school record, I beamed with pride. I knew he was going to be just fine.
I don’t typically pay much attention during the third heat. By then, I’m focused on catching the breath I’ve been holding for the entirety of my brother’s race. But this race was different.
Throughout the meet, I’d watched a group of football players grow larger and larger. They showed up with signs. And when their friend was announced in the third heat, they went wild. I felt my heart sink for their friend. As an Enneagram three, I love to win. I love to win things that aren’t even competitions. I. Love. It. So if I know I’m not going to nab first place, or if the odds are stacked against me, I’m sure as hell not inviting my cheering squad.
This is when the magic happened.
When their friend came up out of the blocks, he was gone. It was over before you could blink. He had the fastest time in the meet. I later learned that it was his first college meet! After multiple injuries in another sport, he gave track a try. And he crushed it.
In a lot of ways, the past few months have felt like I’ve been living permanently in the third heat of my life. It’s not a bad place, no way. But it can be a hard place. A lonely place. A place where it feels impossible to catch up. A place where your motto is “surviving not thriving” and you’re honestly okay with that for the time being.
And then one day, you shoot up off of your blocks so fast that you surprise even yourself. You realize the hard changes strengthened the exact muscles you needed to move forward. And you work every single day to get back up into that first heat. To use every ounce of grit and determination that you can muster to create better circumstances and the opportunities that put you on track for the life you’ve always imagined.
Thank you to everyone who has checked in on me over the past few months. My intention was never to leave social media and blogging so abruptly or for such an extended period of time. I realize now why some of you were so concerned, and I’m so sorry to have worried anyone. My intention with this space was always to build community, and wow, y’all showed up. I’m so thankful.
Cheers to a very happy and healthy 2020! And please know, if it feels like you’re in the third heat of life right now, things get better. I’m proof. Rely on your cheering squad, do things that make you feel like you, and allow yourself to feel things.
I’m cheering for you.