Persistence is a funny thing. It’s a virtue, that helps us get through crappy things, in order to make us feel good. It’s an alchemy I still don’t 100% understand. In order to get the elation, the feeling of triumph, the awesome “I DID IT!”, you have to go through the muck, the pain, and the uncomfortable. It’s like the laughter that’s stronger at the end of a gotcha prank, the relief when you realize that the April Fool’s gag is in fact not true. The fear/worry/pain makes the ending that much better.
Sometimes, persistence can be a quiet companion, walking just behind us and we forget about it. We go through long, tough times and feel like we’re all alone. I felt like that this past winter. I was depressed, and felt like I was a crappy person not living up to my potential, and that I was devoid of virtue. But looking back, persistence was there with me. Persistence is what got me to reach out and find a therapist, and what helped me to just keep going. Now, despite the crappy slog, I feel good.
Other times, persistence is a charging powerful steed, and you ride that sucker to glory. I did that this past weekend, when I rode the Shiner 1/2 Gasp, a 50 mile version of the standard full 100 miles. Most of the time, I felt good. I was strong, and while there was pain, there wasn’t suffering. The last 5 miles were tougher though. I was going through some crappy hills, knee pain, a later discovered saddle sore, and mental exhaustion. But persistence was powering me. I saw the folks around me and wanted to be strong like them, but more importantly, I knew I wasn’t going to stop. Yes, it hurt. But, there wasn’t much of an option to stop. I was 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 miles away, and damn if I was going to let the SAG Wagon pick me up. My legs were just going to keep going. I knew persistence was with me then. I felt full of virtue then, and at the end of the ride, Shiner beer in my hand, I felt good.