This weekend I finally get to race! We are headed to Door County, WI (for those of you who are not familiar with WI geography—the peninsula in Lake Michigan on the east side of our state). It is a beautiful tourist destination that hosts an amazing race weekend that I have participated in many times, with several members of our local team. 

I am very excited to race, but after this weekend I will still not have completed a 2023 conventional triathlon. Although I am itching to get fully back to it, I am also absolutely thrilled to participate in two relays. On Saturday I will join a longtime bestie in a sprint relay in which I will swim and run. And then I Sunday I get to crush the bike portion of the half iron race. With lots of family, friend, and team time, in addition to other activities the peninsula has to offer, it will most definitely be a great weekend. 

Our family of five is staying with two other families, the same ones we shared a home with last year. In 2022, many of us participated individually or in relay teams across the weekend races. For the fun of it, I strongly suggested last year that if we went back in 2023, all who stayed in our house participate in races somehow. 

For various reasons, not everyone is participating, but we are pretty dang close—with all eight kids taking part on relay teams. With many years of racing experience, taking a leg in a tri doesn’t drag most of the younger people out of their comfort zone. But for a few of them, it really does. Two of the teen girls have never participated in a standard sprint triathlon, and still bravely chose legs of the race that were not familiar, which required some focused training. Another young man agreed to bike for the half iron, while battling injuries that are beyond his control (thankfully they won’t be made worse, but can make movement painful). 

I love seeing people bravely try new things. And, of course, I am partial to the new thing being triathlon. But, my excitement didn’t end there. After recognizing how inspired I feel by these youngsters, I took some time to reflect on where I see the next gen showing up in courageous ways all around me. 

As we get older, we can get rather curmudgeon-y in our thoughts and conversations about the youth of the world. They are often labeled as lazy, misguided, confused, lacking work ethic, immature, and/or naive. But, while these labels are often earned, they also have so many cool qualities. I believe some of the reason we hyper focus on their faults is that as we gain wisdom and life experience, we conveniently forget what it was like to be young. Therefore, we can lack understanding and patience, which can also lead us to judgment. 

But, when I opened my eyes and tried to take on a 10,000 foot view, I realized that I am easily inspired by young people all of the time. 

The ones who…

I meet while traveling. They are excited and ready to take on the world.

I have recently had the opportunity to travel with… so smart, attentive, and inquisitive. 

Gave speeches at my youngest child’s recent graduation ceremony. The eager world changers. 

Sign up for foreign experiences (like the race). They are spontaneous, and willing to fail. 

Are more connected to their emotions and willing to open up honestly. 

The ones who are trying to figure out the world daily in the absolutely confusing transition from being a kid to an adult in a society that constantly leads all of us astray with mixed messages and years of conditioning (many still with underdeveloped brains). 

So, this weekend I am going to show up to all I can do to honor the inspiration that these next gen’ers have gifted me: ready to tackle the world, open to new experiences, attentive, smart, curious, connected, and willing to fail. 

No excuses. 

I hope I can inspire you to do the same. 

(Although, in all honesty…my experience with teens and young adults also does tell me that it will be likely they will have plenty of “reasons” why their own races don’t go perfectly…) 

And that’s just the truth- don’t call me a curmudgeon. 😉