Time Is Not on My Side

Ok so maybe the title is a bit dramatic. With that being said, I am always surprised at how fast time goes by. I can’t believe that the middle of October is already here. But when I look back I can see that so much has happened this year. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that November is quickly approaching. I am sure all of us have big changes happen every year. So like your year, this one has not been an exception for me. I have moved to a new company, been promoted at that company, my roommate and best friend moved out, gained another brother-in-law, and lost a dog that I loved. So far the year has had incredible highs, and some awful lows.

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I was able to take some pictures at a Puppy Pool Party. I had an incredible time there because I got to meet some great people and some awesome dogs. It reminded me about the joy a dog can bring to my life. It reminded of the power friends have and community. But it also reminded of a dog I lost. A dog I will never replace, nor ever want to.

I finally took a vacation, even if it was just a couple of days. I was able to see my second family. The parents that took me in for the months I lived in Columbus, OH. It was great because I was able to relax for a bit. Oh and be pampered with the finest of bourbon and wine.

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My roommate/lil sis/bestfriend (she wears many hats) moved out. It has been very difficult finding ways to fill that void and silence at home. (Refer to parts about me working out more) I had to say bye as she moved to another city, and I had to say bye to her when she got married. It is difficult seeing a sister get married, because to me my job as a brother is ending.  I am no longer the guy they need. Now that both are married I feel like I have lost a job I have had for my whole life. No longer needing to be that person to cheer them up and to be by their side. (Cue Toy Story 4 ending)  However, I am glad to know they have found guys that will fill my place and do a better job.

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I attempted my first ever criterium race at the speedway. I had spent months riding hard, so in my mind I was prepared.  The adrenaline that day was at an all time high. The euphoria during that first lap was something I will remember for a long time. But when it ended I felt defeated. I had given it my all, and wanted to throw up because of how hard I pushed. It was hard knowing that even that wasn’t enough.

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Thankfully I didn’t throw in the towel, but instead spent the rest of the summer working harder. I haven’t put this much effort into exercising before. Because of this I have spent nights with zero energy and days alone. But those days were spent outside doing what I enjoy. Sure it probably won’t lead to success in a criterium race, but it certainly has shown me that my past limitations were only of the mind.

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I also tried my first ever triathlon. I didn’t decide until the week before, but I was already running and swimming so why not. That race was my first time to ever do all 3 sports at once. It was madness in the pool, the bike ride was spent with my body trying to figure out what was going on, and the run was 100% survival mode. I did better than I expected. I placed 7th out of over 70 in my age group.

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That simple act of trying my first race sparked this desire to improve. Not only on my riding, but in everything. I have became more involved at church, I have tried my best to have a social life, and I will continue to work on every other avenue of my life. Nobody is going to give me the things I want. Time is only going to keep ticking. No matter what I did, the things above were going to happen. So I am going to use these days to pedal harder, to love the people I care about, and above all to become a better follower of our Lord.

So I simply ask that you do the same. Know that your limitations can be passed. Realize that time is not on your side, so spend it with those you love. Or tell those people that don’t know how much you care. Read a book to grow your mind, go outside to explore the world. Just do whatever you can so that at the end of the day you can know that the person you are today is a better version of who you were yesterday.

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Clear Eyes Full Hearts

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It has been a bit of a crazy year. I am sure it is easy to tell by my posts that I have been in a bit of a reflective kick this year. I haven’t seen the need to put on some mask. Instead I have tried to share with you all what is really going on. Life isn’t full of just highs. There are plenty of moments where we are all down, angry, or lost. So I have wanted to share those moments with hopes that others will find strength reading about someone else in a time of weakness.

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I by no means write this with hopes of people feeling sorry for me. Instead I write this so they know that those bad days all have a purpose. Those days will only make you stronger if you use them as a chance to grow. There are many times on the bike where I feel weak and question if I can keep pushing. So I started telling myself to dig deeper and push harder. Those rides are the moments I can look back with appreciation because I know they made me a better rider. The suffering wasn’t permanent, but it was a reminder that success takes sacrifice. Would there be any satisfaction setting a personal best or doing something I didn’t know I could if it came easy?

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The past 6 months or so I have seen a huge change in my life. To this day losing Copper still rips at my heart. He probably was the first thing I have lost that I really loved and cared for. Changing jobs brought on some anxiety that I didn’t know I could ever have. Alex moving to Knoxville made me realize how quiet a house can really be. I have had to change so much about how I interact with people, how I spend my spare time, and what I invest my time/energy into.

Instead of retreating to my house and to a place of comfort, I have reached out to friends. I have taken that step of uncertainty by being open to those in my small group. Sharing things that I previously would keep to myself. Using these men to become a stronger Christian. The things I used to desire or value has changed. It has caused me to question some things that are almost a foundation to my life and to be honest it scares me to death.

I know more about myself than I ever have. This comes at a price though. I have had some of the worst days because of these changes. Some days were difficult because I couldn’t find happiness in the simple things I used to. Being alone became destructive instead of a refuge. A night of video games lost all appeal. Relaxing on the couch mindlessly watching TV would drive me crazy. I have felt so lost on those days.  So instead I started to ride more, get out often, and I have tried my hardest to be engaged with the people I care about.

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Those bad days are worth it though. They give me the power to tell myself that I can conquer more than I think I can. But they also show me that I can’t do it alone. That I still need to listen to what God has planned for me. That all things have a purpose and it could take me months or even years before I realize what it is.

So for anyone else that is in the storm just know you can use it as an opportunity to change. Turn the loneliness, pain, etc into a reason to fight harder. Use those moments as a reason to praise God. Reaching out to Him in a time of weakness feels vulnerable, but it also makes it easier because you have someone that will listen. Someone that truly cares for you like nobody else does. None of us are ever truly alone. He is at the door waiting, we just have to open it to let Him in.