Keep Going Forward

The weirdest thing happened to me.. I was looking for a shirt that was a T-shirt but a little more fitted given my pants were baggie. I couldn’t find anything suitable, so I looked through my athletic clothes and found my Murph shirt from 2014. It was weird because even though I’ve worn it several times since, I never really thought a lot more about it until that moment.

All of the sudden I had a flash-realization- when I did The Murph on May 21, 2014, I did it with the brain tumor I had removed later that year. As the realization lingered in my head, I briefly wondered why it mattered, but my feelings spoke up and a flush of deep sorrow arose. Lots of other things came up, like what else did I do in life while I had an active brain tumor? How long was it there? Would I have made better (Murph) times if I didn’t have it? Would I be better at other things in life if I didn’t have it? Did it change or shape who I was and if so, have I healed? Have I even made progress? Was I ever even my real self? If so, when did I get taken over and why didn’t I notice?

I’ve talked about life by the quarter before, how there are cycles of thoughts and feelings between MRIs. This is more of the triathlon of brain tumor life, having pain, sorrow, unknowns, regrets, and grief, yet still trying to be positive and move forward, because it’s the only way to happiness and purpose.

So this pretty huge flash was in a few seconds while I stood in my room near the mirror holding the shirt. This was an overwhelming wave of sudden feelings that seemed to come out of nowhere, and I’m standing there, kind of dumbfounded feeling a deep sense of grief, and I look up at myself in the mirror and say (to myself in my head), “Why I haven’t done it since?”.

That part alone was overwhelming because at first I was like, really? I’m having this huge life moment and this is what comes to mind? But it also hit me, having been there many times in the past, that stewing on it and letting it fester would only drag me down. Yes, I need to move forward, so I recognized my feelings, took a breath, and let my thoughts go back to what popped into my head.

“Why haven’t I done it since?” I’ve challenged myself, set goals, and pushed forward in numerous ways while dealing with the brain tumor and surgery, yet not this one. I love exercise and it’s at the top of my priorities, yet it never occurred to me to do it again.

The Murph Challenge says it best, “It is important to remember that The Murph Challenge is more than just a workout. It is a tradition that helps push us, humble us, and allows us the opportunity to dedicate a bit of pain and sweat to honor LT. Michael P. Murphy (SEAL), a man who sacrificed everything he had for our freedom. Join us this year as we continue to help keep his legacy alive through The Murph Challenge campaign.”

I got a lot out of that, yes- I’m challenged and in pain. Yes, I can stop feeling bad about myself. Yes, I can both gratefully honor LT. Michael P. Murphy (SEAL) through this event, and go forward recognizing, considering, and honoring others in life. Yes, I can take this as a reminder to move forward with goals instead of wallow in the past or current pain.

So as I had that huge flash of thoughts and feelings in the quick flash of time, I decided to wear the shirt and it was the reflection and inspiration that I didn’t even know I needed. I was seriously just looking for something to wear with my painter jeans… Yet I had all those feelings, needed some inspiration, needed a push forward, and I got it.

Next year I’m doing The Murph again. I did a modified version in 2014, and probably will again in 2023, but that’s ok. What’s important is having goals and pushing forward rather that stewing in the past. Looking for the positive when the negative is trying to dominate. I don’t know the answers to my questions above, but I know what I want now. I want to be me and I want to be a positive member of this world.

Many people have already completed The Murph 2022 and many have it coming up soon. I celebrate your effort, goals, and honor, and plan on joining you next year!

Have you ever had anything that seemed so small speak to you or motivate you so greatly?