Each year Jamie and I give our kids an experience as combined birthday and Christmas gifts. It is an opportunity for him to take the boys somewhere fun and for Halle and I to take our own girls’ trip. After a 2020 travel gift hiatus, Halle and I recently visited sunny Mexico. 

It was everything we hoped it would be. Warm, fun, relaxing—an amazing mother/daughter bonding experience. I was also able to still get my training in and kept up on work. 

But why would I exercise and work on vacation? Because I love it. 

Why do I get up early on vacation?

Because I love cooler morning to run on the beach. Because I love to squeeze every last moment in outside in the sunshine. 

Why do I exercise each morning, even on vacation? 

Because I love running in new places. I love running on the beach, while listening to the surf. I love how exercise gives me energy and resets my mind and body for the day. I love my commitment to my training. And I even love trying out new gyms. 

Why do I take work meetings, check athlete plans and emails, and write on vacation?

Because I love my job. I love connecting with my athletes and my Feisty co-workers. I love to have the creative space to write. I don’t “have to” work. I know that I can compartmentalize and unplug in an instant when desired. 

Taking a vacation for me is an opportunity to enjoy some uninterrupted time with loved ones; see new places and meet new people; enjoy a break from daily responsibilities and decisions; and spend all day outside in the warm sunshine. 

I desire and am blessed to be able to take time away from some of the “I don’t love” things in life: constant tech disruption and distraction; deciding what to make for dinner or who is going to clean the bathrooms; and most definitely the cold WI winter. 

I don’t need an escape from what I truly love. 

Love is tricky to define. It is personal and individual. It feels like you are receiving it from someone, but it really is a feeling you have within you. And loving someone or something is even defined as different than being in love with someone. 

Even though we know it is individual, I hope we can all identify with different kids of love in our lives. The love I have for myself, my husband, kids, friends, family, dogs, training, racing, traveling, laughing, coffee, reading, my work, sleeping, music & dancing, sunshine, watching and playing sports, swimming naked, etc, etc, etc all feels different to me. 

I feel intense love for many people and activities. And a few things too… like coffee, my bike, sweatpants, a few hoodies, cozy jammies, my bed…. 

I also do many things daily that I do not love. But, ’tis life. I try to be sure that I understand the alternate “why” for each of these, especially how they impact others. And I am grateful that at this time in my life my “I don’t loves” are most often frivolous inconveniences that I am still fully capable of doing. 

I sincerely love triathlon. I love the discipline, the feeling of challenging my body and the routine. I love the opportunity to keep learning more about myself. I love using it as the vehicle in which I can reach others with messages of self care and serving others—the platform to teach about the life changing powers of setting hard goals. 

What do you love? Recently my pastor gave a message with a reference to evangelism. He made the point that one million, one dollar evangelists get further in spreading the word of the gospel then one, one million dollar one. (If I lost you, basically more is better.) 

I like to think this is true for all of life. We need the million dollar activists— the people who are willing to identify their burning passion or love of a group of people or cause. Those who are willing to invest most of their time, money, and energy in something that can affect change in the world. And then they make it more accessible for the rest of us to participate—passing out $1 advice so that we can all work together toward what really matters… taking care of each other and our planet. 

I love being a million dollar activist for self awareness and trust cultivated through goal setting, in the vehicle of triathlon. And I will keep passing out $1 ways that all triathletes can benefit from and spread the word of the life changing powers of our sport. 

My $1 advice for today: identify who and what you love. Bask in the joy of feeling it in your heart and mind. Don’t rush from the powerful way it can overwhelm you. And then go out and spread the word, whether you can give the whole million or $1 at a time. 

Because you love it.

Happy Valentines’ Day.