Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Change As We Know It

Today I realized something about myself: I'm always in a neverending quest. A quest of finding that one thing that would 'change my life forever'.

I admit it started when I was in home from the university break. Was watching television with my mom on this Everest expedition and she was like, "I would love to do this... if only I was younger." That last line woke me up - there I was with my mom who looked pretty resigned folding up clothes, and I was young. I had all the time in the world for to do something big! But then studying took over and I forgot about all the things I told myself I would do/try.

Then my 6 year relationship ended. I grew up with this person, our families were almost like families themselves, so being all on my own again was quite tough. I remember crying my heart out on my bed one night and then jumped with a start, took out a pen and paper, and did a list of, 'The Things I Would Like To Do This Year.' I became obsessed with the concept of time, continously asking myself, "It's day 56 into 2006 - what have you done that you could be proud of? What have changed for the better?" The idea of doing something crazy appealed to me so much. I WANT to have my life changed by an experience. I want to become a different person because the current me was heartbroken and pathetic.

And so I started. Some things were big (scuba diving license), some things were small (learning how to master chopsticks), but none were insignificant. Each achievement meant that I was one step away from the girl he knew, and one step closer to the 'new' me I wanted to be. I was heartbroken enough to do the scuba diving license alone, with only 2 men for company. I think I didn't talk much for the 3 days. I came back raving about the species I saw... but I was still the same person.

The cycle continues - I went on a one week turtle conservation program only to suffer from diarrhea. I spent 2 semesters volunteering at PAWS where I would commiserate my lonely life with all the unwanted kittens and cats (side note: please spay/neuter your pets!). I taught art to a bunch of 3 year olds only to realize kids are not really cute after 5 minutes of being with them.

Then it was the major backpacking trip across West Europe I planned with my housemate. Reading other people's description of their trips, where almost 90% of them claimed that their lives have 'forever changed', I banked my hopes up so high on this one. I was fresh out of university, stressed to the seams from a very trying final year project/thesis/finals and I just warmed my traveling legs with a 14 day backpacking trip across Central Java. I couldn't wait.

We went. We got lost so many times, starved for most days, slept at train stations/bus stations/beside the toilets, harrassed by rowdy Irish roomates, argued (with each other) in Paris, bullied by the German punks. I had my running shoes and went running whenever I could. I waited for the change to take over. I wondered if I was going to wake up not remembering anything at all, like an amnesiac.

54 days later, I trudged up the stairs to my room, feeling very much the same like the girl that bounded down the stairs with her new 50L backpack on. I still have moodswings. Sadly, I realized, I am pretty much me, the same girl, no matter where I am in the world.

Then I took up sports. Seriously.

Which brings me to today. I was browsing through some websites and I glanced across a blog post title that said, "The race that changed my life forever". I stopped, and realized she was talking about mountain biking. Not interested.

But whatever it is, that made me think. I would always be the girl that would be attracted to screaming headlines of people claiming THIS or THAT changed their life forever. I think this is why endurance sports appeal to me so much - it is always different, everyday, all the time.

I always thought that when you become a new person the change would be like a total relevation - an epiphany - instant and obvious. I never considered that you change slowly but surely, sometimes without realizing it. I have always been someone who gives up easily. I rather stop than fail. My life previously would be a lot of DNSs and DNFs. But I remember finishing the longest ride ever totally blown away by my ability. And that dark times at km 36 completing that goddamned marathon. I don't give up things so easily now.

So in a way, I have changed. And will look forward to change more, for the better. Sports have given me this amazing space to try and explore sides of me I didn't think I had. I learned to reign in, let go, learned to push, learned to socialize better (I always have problems with this!). I eat better too... (teringat kat Magnum almond...dah la puasa).

Have a Good weekend!!


  1. Sorry, but somehow now I feel glad that I left you on your own after 25k... :)

  2. I thought standing at the finishing line of my first marathon was life changing as many have claimed before. Nope. Still the same dufus me now. Odd

  3. zaki: hehe i am glad to free you of the torturous job of waiting for me :)

    yim: the change is miniscule... but it's there.

  4. Small matter lah nadia. Look what nik did. Btw, why didnt I wait for and pace kash or haza that day, I'm still thinking. What'd I get to lose? I'd get a solid unbreakable PW! And I'd have got valuable experience watching them do it... aih!

  5. You did lots of stuff. That is awesome. Change or not is something we can think down the path, not in an instant. It may take years.
    Everest was my dream but now it can be suicide :D

  6. Life is a journey, its keep on moving.

  7. On the socializing part, you're not alone.

    Anyway, yes, running has changed my life. A lot!

  8. Just stay true to yourself Nad, and you'll be fine no matter the changes to come.

  9. My first marathon didn't change me, not that I can think of, but my running did.
    Like you, I'm so glad I jumped into this.