Thursday, October 26, 2006

Meant To Be

As a junior and senior in high school, I generated a considerable amount of tension with my dad. It wasn't tension over drugs, or girlfriends, or other nefarious type situations (though girlfriends were definitely a topic that caused a few gray hairs). Oddly enough, it this tension centered on the college decision.

Now in many families, such tension would be the result of parents pushing for college and a child pushing for something more relaxed, like living at home for several more years. We were a bit different. In this case, I was totally determined to go to college. My dad felt that the Navy would be more fitting, not to mention more affordable.

My mom, ever the mediator, encouraged me to apply for the United States Naval Academy. that seemed a good option as it would meet both desires. College for me. Naval service for my dad. All was well until the final physical exam, where it was noted that I have perforated ear drums. Fine for the average human. Automatic disqualification from the Naval Academy selection process.

For my dad, it was a sure sign I should be in the Navy. For me, it was one less opportunity for a college education. In the end, I headed off to college without my dad's blessing, or his financial support. My mom stepped up to the plate and worked many long hours in a nursing home to help pay for my tuition and other expenses.

In time, everything imploded, and I wound up leaving school after three semesters. And went to work in the same nursing home where my mom worked. Eventually, the dead end nature of that job became apparent. Of all places, that two year journey led to an enlistment in the US Navy. Some things are just meant to be.

My ten years in the Navy, though far from a dream job, provided a great many experiences that left me a much better person, though physical fitness wasn't one of them. More importantly, it provided multiple options for completing college. I graduated in 2003, the first member of my immediate family to receive a college degree. Some things are meant to be.

During this time, my career as a runner started. Despite the months of training, the lost weight, and the improving fitness, a marathon never happened. When I began work with my current employer, I mentioned to several people that I wanted to complete a marathon in 2003. That never occurred because of a back injury, and my running started to become more an infrequent hobby than a disciplined practice. It may well have become a thing of the past if it weren't for a co-worker who is married to a sub-elite marathoner with nine races under her belt.

He pushed, goaded, taunted, and eventually nearly humiliated me until I signed up for a marathon just to get him off my back. I completed that marathon, and three others since. Some things are meant to be.

So, looking down the long road to Ironman Louisville, I know there are no certainties in life. I have often set a goal only to have reaching it sidetracked by one thing or another. Even so, I am confident I will overcome the obstacles that stand between me and the finish line come 23:59:59 on August 26, 2007. This time, I have the same people providing some of the same motivation. More importantly, I have the support of my wife and children, my co-workers and friends, and the TBC. I am curious about what I can accomplish. I am relentless in the pursuit of my goals. And some things, some things are meant to be.


Curly Su said...

nice post. thanks.

Veeg said...

Awesome, IP! :)

Cliff said...

Great post Iron Pol....

Do u have any news of your coworker and his finance?

Deb said...

I wish I could get mey 18 year old to read this (or come live with you for a month or 2 ;)...) Funny, I'm not sure that I'LL be the one to get through this. I was much better when they were my little angels and life was simple. I hope I can write a similar post about Rob in 10 years!

IM Able said...

It's funny that sometimes the winding path we follow is there for some purpose, which doesn't become apparent until we are far beyond and looking back. Thanks for sharing that, IP. You will do wonderfully next year in all your endeavors.