One of my favorite lyrics goes something like this: There are a thousand shades of gray. I know it's true. How about you?
The idea of shades of gray, or less poetically put the ability to look at things in different ways from different angles, has been important to me lately. I remember from my grad school days the concept being explained as binary thinking: things (or life) is either-or. Either it's this or it's that. But there are what's called "third spaces" in which there are other possibilities. I'd say there are third, fourth, fifth .... infinite number of possibilities that exist in our lives. We just don't always see them.
And so two people helped point that out to me this week.
First came in the pool at master's swim practice. We had crowded lanes on Thursday and even swimming with my zoomers on I had trouble keeping up with some of the others in my lane (although I made each time interval given to us by the coach). I let a few people go ahead of me and commented that I'm pretty slow.
"You're not slow," one of the guys said. "You just need to swim with more enthusiasm."
Hmmm. Not a bad thought. Instead of being worried about my form or my speed (or lack thereof) I could just swim with gusto and see what it got me. I don't know if I swam faster after that, but the rest of practice certainly was a bit more enjoyable.
I again offered an apology for my slowness to Sue while we were running on Friday morning as we trotted along during a cold, but thankfully windless, morning.
"You don't run slow," Sue told me. "You run smart."
Her philosophy -- that you can't do every run fast. That running fast all the time won't get you faster and that your body needs slow runs.
Also, well, we were looking out for ice. And it was dark. And 6 a.m. And so cold my hair froze.
Those different perspectives didn't just give me another way to look at my swimming or my running. Those perspectives helped pull me out of the negative and into positive thinking. It's not about fast, it's about enthusiasm. It's about smart.
It's about enjoying the journey, doing your best and letting everything else fall into place.
Today, I run the Reindeer Run 5K at Medaille under strict instructions from my coach: I am not to wear any watch or heart rate monitor but I am required to wear a Santa hat.
Yet another perspective to try on.