My husband and I used to watch the Eco-challenge adventure race. If we had to, we’d order the VHS tapes. We played them in a continuous loop. These races were memorable not just for the beautiful locales and different activities the participants were expected to complete, but for the many different competitors (Who can forget Team “USUK” or the yellow tights of Team Helti?). My favorite eco-challenge competitor was a lady from Australia named Jane Hall. She was a master at sea kayaking and very good at all of the other activities. The reason why she was my favorite was her attitude. “We’re just a bunch of guys and gals who want to have a go,” she said about her crack team of outdoor sports experts.
Jane’s words and her attitude have carried me through all kinds of personal challenges, sporting and otherwise. If you ever meet me, you will NOT remark on how athletic my build is. Despite a serious lack of co-ordination and my addiction to baked goods, I’ve never had a really bad fracture or injury. My special athletic ability is staying in an upright position for any length of time even if I’m tired and sore. I also enjoy myself no matter how slow my pace may be, and I will try almost anything. I’ve plumbed the depths of many caves and surveyed some of them. I’ve backpacked and camped out on a snow-filled Canadian mountainside. I’ve hiked for miles on cold, windy Irish Cliffs and through hail in New Mexico. My husband and I got married on one of the many remote beaches of Cumberland Island, Georgia.
This is the spirit I brought to software and to my half-marathon training program. I gave myself permission to really suck at programming and computers as long as I kept practicing and stayed interested. For the half-marathon training, I decided that speed and pace just couldn’t be factors for me. In examining the schedule I decided to follow, I realized that consistency for the shorter 30 minute runs was really the key. Whether I was walking, shuffling, limping or any combination of the three, getting my butt across the finish line was my solitary goal. Here I am at the finish line with my friend, Melissa.
My masters thesis is far from perfect. Read it, and you will find holes. I could make excuses for these, but I don’t see the need. I’m usually a very self-deprecating person, but in this instance, I am quite proud of myself. My thesis is the snapshot of a beautiful moment in time, and the picture includes many more people than just myself. Those of you who have left me comments, sent me emails, followed me on twitter, mentored me and talked with me have a part in my success as well. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Remember the scene in the movie Dead Poet’s Society where Robin Williams is showing his students the school’s trophy case? He tells them to look at it and think about the phrase, “carpe diem.” As they are staring, he begins to whisper in a raspy voice, “carpe…carpe diem. Seize the day, boys!” For the first time in my professional life, I know without a doubt that I didn’t just, “seize the day.” I rode that day clear across the contiguous 48 states and back. Here I am. I’m still upright, still breathing and, more importantly, still interested.
I did not finish everything I wanted to finish this past semester, but the semester is done and my degree program is over. This does not mean I will be putting anything down. In fact, this gives me the chance to re-evaluate some of what I was doing, and make some positive changes that weren’t possible in the context of school work. As I am in it for the long haul, your regularly scheduled blog will certainly continue.
When I think about all I’ve accomplished in the past year or two, this scene from the movie Vision Quest comes to mind. Many time, I have felt like Loudon Swain working his up the wall with two pegs. I can hear all of you cheering me on, and I love it! Thanks, again!
p.s. I have to work through some red tape to get my thesis posted online, but I’ll post when it is up.