For athletes in high performance sport there comes a time when one must be realistic and settle. I knew when I was 16 years old, was 5 foot nothing and was close to last on my school's alpine ski team that I was never going to be an Olympic skier, no matter how much I trained or dreamed. I knew that I had to settle with being a recreational skier and I moved on with my life. In university as a runner I had set some lofty goals for myself and I surprisingly accomplished many of them. In the end I was never a CIS all star, I had to settle with AUS all star and move on (although to be honest, moving on was really hard). At some point athletes must honestly appraise their goals and settle for something that may not necessarily have been what they were seeking. How many athletes are in a contest who do not win? There are thousands of people out there who have had to settle for a personal best just shy of the medals and retire with that. Settling is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to higher self esteem rather than being constantly disappointed. Also it is beneficial when one is happy with what they have rather then having 'grass is always greener' syndrome. Currently, I know I will never win a national championships, I understand I am a small fish in a small pool and I am fine with that. I love running and will try to improve but I will never earn money from running nor will it ever provide me with a means to earn a living (if I get a free pair of socks I am excited!) Besides, we are taught from a young age to 'settle'down. It is our goal.
Which leads me to my next dilemma. I have taken the summer off of romance or attempting any notion of romance. This has been very difficult as attractive men have been harassing me all summer to call and hang out and attempt to sleep with me all the time (ha ha ha, just kidding, although I did make eye contact with someone a few weekends ago). Once I return from my end of summer vacation in Nova Scotia I will attempt to enter the dating world again. Is it time to settle?
I had a wonderful gay pride last weekend although one night was slightly disturbing yet educational. I was at a club and by the end of the night the only men who attempted to dance with me were absolutely repulsive. My friends described me as looking 'very uncomfortable' throughout the duration of the night, which was how I was feeling. I knew it was time for me to go home when there was no where on the dance floor I could dance without running into someone who propositioned me and I turned down. I walked home alone (which was the plan anyways, single for the summer) lamenting the lack of attractive men in the city. The next day my friend was commenting on the great number of attractive men at the club. Huh? Maybe it is time for me to settle?
When I think about settling I cringe. I have always held close to my heart that I would rather be alone then settle for someone who would not make me happy or give me stomach pain rather then butterflies. I have had to settle in sport but my goals might have been unrealistic. Day to day I do not settle. I hit my pace times in workouts. I have run a series of personal bests in the last two years which I never thought were attainable. These times would have me within the ranks of CIS all star, I may not have actually settled. I did not settle with a useless Arts degree. I went back to university and got a BScKin and a MSc(OT). I will not settle or be happy with a bad workout or a poor effort in a race and nor will I settle for a man who cannot keep up or does not light my fire. As the commercial says, never settle!
In reality, over the past two years, I have met men who meet my exacting standards. We did not date for several reasons including (in no particular order);
- He has a boyfriend
- He is not attracted to me
- He moved away (or at least that is what he told me)
- He is not over a previous relationship
- He is at a different point in his life
Addendum: Inspiration comes in many forms. I had a nice chat with a friend who did not settle. When the right man came along she let nature take it's course and is all the better for it. She has been on a whirlwind of a romance, I am inspired and will not settle.
Yesterday's tempo run did not happen as I did not feel like running. I have been struggling with a bit of tendonitis and I just wanted to have some rest and a good nights sleep. Today I did not run again and spent some time swimming with a great group of friends. It was great to be in open water although I have lost my muscle bulk from last summer and my wetsuit is a bit big in the shoulders. Tomorrow night I will be training with VFAC. Hopefully my tendonitis will have resolved, even a bit would be nice.