I recently read an article by a seeming literary genius named Mark Manson titled “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” i suggest you stop RIGHT NOW, and read the article. While it might sound like an article to be read simply for humor (and maybe it was, and I just read too far into it…like most things), I found it to be full of profound wisdom and enlightening theory. I also found that it uses the Fword a lot, so I could easily understand and identify. One of the beliefs pointed out in the article is that we are delegated a finite amount of f*cks to give, and that we should use them wisely, sparingly, and with intention.
Being that I love to write, I am getting ready to attempt the Sylamore 50K, and I embrace every opportunity to use the F-word, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to regurgitate my thoughts and feelings onto paper regarding my newly adopted attitude of tackling Sylamore while… NOT.GIVING.A.F*CK! There is not a day that passes where I do not freeze up for a moment with crippling anxiety at the thought of the Sylamore 50k. There are also very few days in which I am not training for it. I cannot explain exactly why, and can only deduce that I NEED something to obsess and worry about. I have kept up with my CrossFit, running, and even diet. I have stayed focused, and at the end of the day, this race is going to have very little to do with the history of our planet, but to listen to me, you would think it is the beginning or end of peace talks with ISIS (that was my attempt at sounding like I am even remotely up to date with world events.) I have a great deal of faith that this will all go smoothly, simply because I am going to carry with me a positive attitude, and because of this piece of advice which was shared with me by a friend of mine:
My signing up for a race of this distance is pretty consistent to most of my life’s decision, which is either to roll over and go back to sleep, or if it interests me, go as big and hard as possible while leaving very little leeway for logic. My mom asked me why I was jumping up to a 50k so quickly, when I could just run another 25K and get more comfortable. My response was, “are you kidding? The 25k almost killed me. Ill never do that sh*t again.” Gotta go for 50.
I have run the gamut of emotions with pride, fear, anxiety, insecurity, excitement, ego, delusion, and joy throughout my training for this race. It seems like I cannot decide on whether I want to enjoy this opportunity and better myself with the experience, or treat it as a way to belittle and insult myself while making each training session a flogging of all things Beefcake. It’s funny how I need a pen, paper, and a listening ear in order to decide whether I would like to be miserable or not. I have gone to great lengths to disqualify myself from being an actual “runner”. I look for any way possible to avoid allowing myself to be comfortable on the playground with the others, and insist on remaining the fat kid with the foot fungus. However, in spite of myself, my attitude as of late has been one of the more positive that it has ever been. It has been an attitude of not giving a f*ck. This has everything to do with the people with which I associate. Each of these people have either told or demonstrated me something that has made me want to do and be better. Most of them have made themselves vulnerable to me by making the effort to express a kind sentiment. In essence, they didn’t give a f*ck and took the risk.
My friend Greg, who is a competitive, top finisher in all his races, shared with me that after getting lost at Wade’s Big Adventure, he decided to quit until he saw me smiling, hollering, and high fiving while waddling away at it (in dead last place). I had no idea I could inspire someone so great. I watch my friend David, who has faced adversity to a degree in which few have, and decided to duck his head and dive straight into the bullshit and get busy picking up the pieces. He runs long and hard, with no concept or care of how fast or how far he is going. He truly takes pleasure where I look for the pain. David doesn’t give a f*ck. I watch Amanda, who wakes up at 4am everyday not giving a f*ck. What time she went to bed, or what kind of day she has ahead are inconsequential, because she is going to get her exercise, she is going to go to work, and she is going to have her personal time. She gets things done, and gets them done with intention. In the gym, she is an animal. I don’t even pretend to be in that league. She is also my biggest supporter who expresses her support of my running, regularly. I like watching people like Amanda who get sh*t done, who don’t make room for the excuses, who don’t leave the door open for self-doubt or the easy way out, because that’s always locked. Even if it wasn’t locked, they wouldn’t know it because they never use that door…ever. I listened to my children argue whether I was running 50feet or 500miles, and while neither was right, they didn’t give a f*ck. They were intrigued and excited about their daddy and what I was doing. I listened to my dad, who is notoriously bad at processing information and is known for his fact twisting (much like his youngest son) proudly tell a group of family members about the 50 mile race I had recently ran…which was not even mildly accurate and was really only 17miles, and probably would have been a world record time if he was even somewhat informed in his information. However, the point is that he didn’t give a f*ck either. The family members didn’t care if it was 50miles or 50yards. They were all proud that I was making an effort to do something positive, regardless. My new friend Brian is a 100mile competitor that has offered his time and companionship simply because of a bond we formed through this blog. He doesn’t give a f*ck what kind of time I run; he just wants to see me do my best. And lastly of course, my God, who speaks through people, conveniently placed my hero Kiran (in street clothes) at the very top of a grueling hill at mile 7 of the Hill and Dale 8miler. Kiran yelled out, with a big, happy smile, “WILSON, you need a hug?” My response was, “of course, I need a hug…I always need a hug”, and he gave my big, sweaty ass a hug, right there in the middle of a race. I love hugs. Big hugs, not the bro hugs, where you kinda lean and slap right quick. Bro hugs are bullsh*t. I like the big embraces. The ones that some people are scared to death of, but I have been fortunate to have had them passed around like a huka at a high school keg party all my life.
In closing, I have been taught that my attitude is adjustable. I can be as miserable or as comfortable as I like. I was taught to “fake it, till you make it”. If you can’t find a good attitude, then just pretend. It seems to work. Being fortunate enough to have had my life spiral out of control and plop down into one gigantic mess a few years back, I was able to enter the vault and withdraw just about all of the f*cks allotted to me over a lifetime in one fell swoop. Having admitted to to what, at the time, seemed like A BIG F*CKING DEAL, that I am a raging alcoholic, drug addict, have been suicidal with depression issues, anger issues, binge eating, an ego maniac with an inferior complex, and a narcissist with body image issues, only to find out that everybody got their own mess. It is truly a gift to reach a point to where sometimes I feel like I am just fresh outta f*cks to give. It is a blessing to see that all of the little things that I have placed SO much importance on have really not been worth the worry at all. This race is no different. There is nothing I want more than to finish this race, do not hear me wrong. This is not an escape plan, for expectation of failure. This is an added level of excitement, and an attitude, which will hopefully allow me to see more of the fun, pleasure, and excitement of the things in front of me, and less of the dread and worry about the things that never even happen. I want to hold onto this attitude and ride it for as long as I can, because it is much more pleasurable and certainly easier. Thank you Mark Manson.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related.