I’m a huge White Sox fan. One of their announcers, Hawk Harrelson, always talks about TWTW, which is his acronym for “the will to win.” Hawk believes that this is an intangible that successful people must have; it pushes them past the status quo to a special level of performing.
I’ve always been a TWTW kind of person. Whether it meant work, running, or hiking, my body was always a couple steps behind my drive to succeed – but that drive pushed my body to reach whatever limits I was dreaming of. I can remember running 1600m races – and almost every time I’d hit the final 400m segment, I’d push myself as hard as I could – to where I’d literally fall over just after the finish line. I could do almost anything I wanted – as long as I wanted it enough.
In recent years, things have changed. Four years ago, I tore my meniscus doing some plyometric training. Shifting to a full time management role at work has left my energy to exercise and hike quite a bit lower and I’ve added weight. Even some mental issues like vertigo have clouded my mental state on steep hikes. Things have changed – they’ll never be the same again – and TWTW no longer works the way it did.
I’ve resisted acknowledging that my body has permanently changed until now. I’ve tried to “suck it up” and “be a man” and all of those other awesome sayings guys grow up hearing. But I need to real and connected to the here and now – not living in my past like Napoleon Dyamnite’s Uncle Rico. Now my question is “how strong can I become?” I’ll never be the same again – my knees, my age, my energy will never be the same and I’ve accepted that. I no longer have a life with seemingly endless possibilities and I’m trying to uncover where that threshold is between pushing myself to improve while not overdoing it and harming myself.
So my question for you – hikers, 30′s-somethings, or simply my engaged readers – how do you define that line for yourself? What does that look like? What does TWTW look like when compared with reality?