On living your values with kids and a job

June 3, 2023 by Joshua
in Fitness, Habits, SIDCHAs

Tell someone with kids or a job that you pollute less and they will tell you they can’t because of kids and a job. Then they’ll lecture you about your ignorance and how you couldn’t understand what it’s like, never mind that humans have had kids and had to work to eat and for shelter for 300,000 years.

Have you read about the woman, Candice Burt, who ran fifty kilometers per day for two hundred days in a row? She burned thousands of extra calories per day and took five to seven hours per run, not including days with longer runs, including hundred-mile races. I’ve been reading her blog and articles about her that it links to, and they’re fascinating.

She got the same you-can-but-I-can’t-rationalization treatment and responded to it, noting such comments to her weren’t about her, they were about the person saying them and their limiting beliefs. In particular, in her post Setting a World Record: 200 days, 200 ultramarathons and 6,400 miles later, she wrote:

I’ve learned that to achieve something big one must juggle more balls that most people think is possible. A normal comment during my world record attempt was that I must “not work” or “not have kids”. Both of which I do – I do work and I do have teenagers (full time!). There was distain from those that thought I just ran all the time “get a job!” and those who thought I must not have a family “If I didn’t have kids I could do that too.” Disbelief: “No way she’s actually running that much.” And disgust, “This is mental illness.” It began with “You’re going to ruin your knees!” Which quickly turned into “You’re going to ruin your whole body!” To: “You’re going to DROP DEAD!” (Actual comments) I was called a frostbitten anorexic and told “well, maybe someone finds that attractive.” All the while I was also met with enough disbelief that people would accuse me of making up the whole thing.  We set all kinds of limits on ourselves, don’t we? We make all kinds of assumptions about those achieving unusual feats around us, don’t we?

These assumptions limit us. And herein lies a secret for you: Be curious, not critical. Those who condemn and criticize won’t realize their own potential. These comments don’t bother me or concern me. Heck, they aren’t about me. They are about the limitations within other people. You have to recognize that others are going to have all kinds of opinions about you if you share yourself with the world and are doing something insane. Back to that word I love so much. Insanity that expands human potential is actually the most sane thing we humans do.

I put the key part in bold. She didn’t mention insecurity, but I think that emotion motivates people’s defensiveness, in rationalizing and justifying their living below their potential or against their values.

While I’m writing about her, I’ll note the commonality in just starting, not planning in a quest to perfect it. In an earlier post, Ultramarathon Streak: I just felt like running, she wrote

Today, the day that I write this, marks day 63 of an ultramarathon streak that I started on a bit of a whim. I didn’t train for it nor did I plan for it. This may sound especially insane for most people, but I already run most days and since work would be a bit slow, it could take some of my usual work time. Little did I realize the challenges and intensity of experience that running so many hours across so much terrain would entail. Now at day 63, I am glad I didn’t realize the extent of the challenge, I’d rather go in optimistic and idealistic than anxious and stressed.

Coincidentally, her finishing date of May 23, 2023 was my day 365 with my apartment disconnected from the electric grid. Here are my write-ups in TIME and Ars Technica for more background. See more coverage on my media page.

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