Cold Shower - Day 5, Take 2 - Choices

You've probably heard the saying that some people are starters, some people are journeyers, and some people are finishers.

Well, I'm a starter on a grand scale. OH how I love to start things... the excitement, the possibilities, the thrill of the unknown. Perhaps that is why I embrace change so readily - it's something new to get my blood pumping and thoughts racing.

Then comes the middle of a thing and I become bored.  The shiny wears off the new and I become distracted by some other sparkly new idea.  In the past, generally, the only way I've made it through "the middle" is by some external force. A deadline for a project I've agreed to do or a committment to someone I will really let down if I don't accomplish the task will usually do the trick.  But then comes the end.

I fear finishing things. It is pretty irrational - especially when most things I start do not involve dying as a result of completing the task - but I am filled with fear none-the-less.  It is a fear of failure and a fear of success.
  • What if I get to the goal and I completely flop?
  • What if I get to the goal and I hit a homerun?
  • What if I get to the goal and it is completely anti-climatic?

Finishing, for me, does not provide the thrill of accomplishment but rather the sigh of relief that I didn't die.

The great thing about realizing my "start, stutter, stop, start something new" routine is that I have plenty of room for improvement.  On many levels, this is what the Cold Shower challenge is to me.

Monday, the official day 5 of my challenge, I made a choice. That choice was to hit the snooze button leaving me not enough time for a shower before I headed out for the day. I convinced myself that I would take a cold shower before bed that night and thereby keep on track for my 30 straight days.

Looking back now, the snooze button is an excuse.

Was I truly tired? Yes.
Could I have gotten up on time? Yes.
Did I? No.

I'd say the "why" is because the shiny new has worn off this challenge for me.  I'm now in the dreaded middle where so many projects in my life lie... dusty and often forgotten. Right now is the time of make it or break it for me - and I wonder, at only 4 days completly in, will this challenge too be discarded into the excuse pile of forgotten dreams?

4 days in and the shiny new has worn off, the excitement of beginning has blended into the reality of doing something rather hard for 30 days. One would hope this dreaded middle ground would hit, oh I don't know, maybe near the actual middle of the task... not so in this case.

That is exactly why I need this challenge. To find my way of getting through the middles and facing the ends... with whatever results await there.

Monday evening rolls around - time to install the irrigation pipes for the summer. After hauling and installing and priming, and finally starting all of the sprinkler heads in windy, cool temperatures I had had my fill of icy water. I was shivering and chilled to the core and I made another choice - There was no way I was going to get in more cold water.

So, did I fail?

I think not. Accepting failure is really just another excuse.

It would be incredibly easy to say "Oh well, I missed a day so the challenge is over for me." And then go on about my life and drop this challenge into the overflowing bucket of uncompleted things.

Instead, as in the movies, I made the choice that Monday was "Day 5, Take 1" and it did result in me being covered in icy water so I figure I got partial credit. Today was "Day 5, Take 2" - and I accomplished the goal.  Was today great? Not really. It was cold but I did it.

I've began to realize that the true challenge in this activity, for me, is not the fear of turning the water to cold but rather to face the boredom of the middle and then accept that as long as I finish, I've won.

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