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There is nothing wrong with imperfection

In fact, says Beth Probst: “I’ve found the greatest joy in things I genuinely suck at.”

imagesI’m coming off another rough night with little sleep. So this morning while I laced up my tennis shoes and sipped my first cuppa joe, I read this beautiful blog titled: Back of the Pack, by my friend and colleague, Beth Probst. (Yes, I am a multi-tasker even at 5:30 a.m.)

Beth describes herself as a “Mom. Communicator. Photographer. Gardener. Coffee Lover. Explorer. Living the simple but awesome and authentic life in NW Wisconsin.” I describe her as “kick-ass at expressing herself in the written word in a real, authentic and approachable way.” She is inspiring.

Back of the Pack,” is my favorite of Beth’s blogs to date. In it she shows us that it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay not to achieve your goals, but to finish anyway. She writes about running, about passion and finding hers, and about the beauty of screwing up.

In addition to the quote above, I love this one: “What I’ve learned is that maybe my passion is not having a passion. Instead, it is about getting up in the morning and saying what do I want to do today and then going for it.”

With Beth’s permission, I am sharing her entire blog here. I encourage you to check out “Circle Tour Adventures, by Beth Probst” and read more of her musings.

Thank you Beth for helping to remind me, and my InTheEquation readers, that sometimes the greatest joy in life comes from our screw ups! I totally agree.

Back of the Pack

by Beth Probst, Circle Adventure Tours

This morning, my legs clocked 11 miles on the tri-county corridor. Several things happened while I slowly made my way across a tiny portion of northwest Wisconsin.

First, my goal of finishing the race in under 3-hours in two weeks isn’t happening. Not by a long shot. I had a hunch this might be the case. It started with a lack of ambition on the diet, followed by a few too many episodes of House of Cards and of course, quality time hanging out with my son versus clocking additional miles.

I’d by lying if I didn’t say I was disappointed. But, I’m still going to lace-up and run in two weeks. Even though I won’t hit my goal time, I’ve earned a darn medal. And more importantly, this whole training thing has taught me something about myself that is amplified by when I cross that finish line.

Several years ago I started a book called Back of the Pack. I haven’t finished it, in part because the story is evolving. And, there was a brief moment where I thought my story would change. That, I would fall in love with running and start training harder and finish in the middle of the pack. I’m not sure why I thought this would happen because the truth is, I dislike running. I hate that my legs hurt and sweating is pretty disgusting. I still dread the day I might lose a toenail. And, I’m always afraid my bowels are going to let me down.

But, there’s something to be said about doing something you aren’t good at. There is something rewarding about casually saying, I’m running a half-marathon and watching the look of disbelief by the person on the receiving end of the conversation. There’s something to be said about crossing that finish line and even surprising myself, not because I finished but because I lined up knowing I’d finish last.

As someone who is a memoir junkie, I had always thought I’d find my passion early in life. That I’d find the one thing that really made me excited about life and then I’d pursue that and ultimately become great at it because that’s what the self-help books say.

For much of my life that was true. I only pursued things I was good at. If it came naturally to me, I’d call it a passion and make it the focus of my life. But, I always knew something was missing. Ten years ago, I decided to do something about that. I quit my job and started over. While I loved producing news and the highs and lows that come with managing a newsroom, I knew I didn’t want to be defined by my job.

Fast forward 10-years and I can definitely say I’ve achieved that. I no longer feel my greatest accomplishments happen while I’m on the clock. I’ve found my greatest joy in things I genuinely suck at. If you’ve seen my garden, the outtakes of my photography or my attempts at painting our house, you know what I’m talking about. Not to mention this whole mother thing—I don’t have a clue. In fact many mornings I wake up and look at Jake and genuinely wonder how I’ve managed to keep him alive for the past 20-months.

These experiences have taught me more than any book. What I’ve learned is that maybe my passion is not having a passion. Instead, it is about getting up in the morning and saying, who or what do I want to be today and then going for it. That simply living life on my terms is enough. Sometimes, more often than not, this means finishing last or completely screwing up. It is a humbling way to live life. But at the same time, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier.

In two weeks, I’m going to run the Journey’s Half-Marathon in Eagle River. I’ll line up like everyone else. And, crossing the finish line in the back will be just as sweet for me as for those who finish first. But, I’ll also visit the cement park and play in the park with Jake and hopefully enjoy some awesome bakery treats at some hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. These experiences will be equally as exciting. And for that, I’m grateful.

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