Yesterday I completed my first timed running event since I was in high school. I entered because a dear friend asked me to help her train for the race and she wanted my support. It was important to her that she finish and she did wonderfully. I’m extremely proud of her for sticking with it, even when the going got tough. After the event concluded I had a number of people congratulating me for running the race, and I’ll be honest, it felt weird. It’s hard to pin down why, but I guess it’s because I wasn’t in it for me. I was only there to support my friend. This was her accomplishment, not mine.

Let me say that by all accounts, yesterday’s race was extremely well run and everyone involved did a fantastic job. Yes, I know a number of the people who organized the event, but I’d feel the same way had it been put on by complete strangers. I run to stay healthy, and I’ll continue to do so, but participating in yesterday’s event confirmed my feeling that races aren’t my thing. I know that many people get motivated by the competition, camaraderie or various other aspects of being in an event like that, and that’s great, but I just don’t get anything out of it.

Thanks to everyone for all of the kind words about my participation in the race, but unless it’s to be there for someone I care about, I don’t see me entering any more in the foreseeable future.

How Do You Define Yourself?

When you have to introduce yourself, how do you go about it? Aside from stating your name, depending on the context you may say where you live, where you went to school, your political affiliation, where you work, or maybe that you’re so-and-so’s friend. Associations with external entities are a quick way to give someone else a sense of who you are, but how do you define who you are to yourself? As I thought about it, I realized it was mainly in those external terms, but I’ve also come upon a problem: What do you do when those things that are not you, that you associate yourself with, but are not under your power, change?

Sure, we’re all changing all the time, but how does your sense of self change when something that used to be a key part of your sense of self lets you down, or decides they no longer want anything to do with you? What happens when everything you thought you were a part of is gone and you’re all that’s left? What makes you, you?