Thursday, November 30, 2006

sometimes people change

Written for the USC Triathlon Newsletter 11-30-06:

Sometimes people change.

Oh, we know. Your parents told you people never change. They said so very clearly when you started hanging out with the "bad boy" down the street (or *became* the bad boy down the street...but that's another story). They even told you the fables--the ones about leopards not changing their spots and scorpions not changing their nature.

But sometimes people change.

They change because of things that happen in their lives. Because of days that pass, people they lose, things that happen. Because of years lived, relationships endured, lessons learned. They change because of the journey that is life and living and wear and tear of mileage run beneath their feet. They change because the distance leaves a mark and memory of age and sight and sound and emotion stretching as long as the evening shadows of the longest day of the longest trail of the greatest vistas spread out beneath creation's great sky extending beyond reason into infinite. They change, because underneath the eye of heaven, they can do nothing else but change.

And your parents then gave you the caveat that people can only change when they want to change.

Well, you chose to start a journey. You chose to enter a race. You chose to go to practice and train. You chose to find others like you. You chose to listen to a coach. You chose to suffer and hurt and suffer again. You chose to live outdoors or in a gym, by seasons alternating freezing in the wind or baking beneath the sun. You chose to change.

And you chose all this because deep down, in places that we label in varying degrees your mind, your heart, or your soul, you wanted to change.

And you have changed. You know it. You know you've changed when your coach tells you to run 5 miles and you say "That's all?" You know you've changed when you're looking at a 4-hour hole in your schedule and wondering if you can fit in a 50-mile bike ride. You know you've changed when a 3,000 meter descending swim set in the pool sounds like Sunday recreation. You know you've changed when you look around and look back, and wonder how you ever were the person you were then, and realize that you can't--or don't want--to be that person ever again.

Sometimes, people change.

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