Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I've been thinking about sacrifice a lot lately, specifically as it applies to long-term goals.  I grew up an athlete and it was in dusty, deserted gyms that I began to learn this lesson, one that had me give up much in order to achieve my long-term goal of being a scholarship collage athlete.  Many a bright and sunny summer day were spent alone in an unused gym working on ball handling skills and jump shots.  In the end, I prevailed and achieved my adolescent goal.  Was it worth it?  I believe it was insofar as it set a lifetime pattern of not grabbing at immediate desires at the expense of long-term goals.

Today I look back on my life and see this pattern repeated over and over again, my Special Forces career, two graduate schools, Ironman triathlon, emergency medicine, etc.  Along the way I've sacrificed horrendously to be able to achieve those goals.  Again, was it worth it?  Only time will tell.  Catch me at the end of my days and I'll let you know.

Of course the desire for the long-term runs counter to some basic Buddhist principles of living in the present moment and letting go of your attachment to desires.  This has been the subject of great contemplation lately.  Should I give up that bowl of ice cream for dessert in pursuit of my goal of running a sub-10 hour Ironman?  What about passing on spending time with my parents so that I can get a long weekend of workouts in?  Where does the line get drawn?  Again, sacrifice, balance, the Middle Way.  Much to consider.

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