New Years Resolutions
by Hon. Carla N. Archie
Some of the most popular new year resolutions include losing weight, eating healthy, getting fit, managing stress, and volunteering to help others. Several years ago, at the beginning of a new year, I complained to a colleague about my difficulty losing weight and general dissatisfaction with my body, fitness, and energy level. In her usual pragmatic, unsympathetic way, she asked, “So what are you going to do about that, Punchinello?” I don’t know, dodge the question, make excuses, wallow in self-deprecating pity, and continue to do nothing was my initial thought. Then, after indulging me in a fair amount of verbal dodge-ball, she looked me squarely in the eye and said, “You need a goal that has nothing to do with losing weight. You should run a triathlon with me.” Was she joking?
My colleague was a lifelong fitness fanatic, a collegiate basketball player, an experienced triathlete with visions of competing in an Ironman® race--- a superwoman, capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound. I, on the other hand, didn’t have an athletic bone in my body, apart from an occasional group aerobics class. I certainly never participated in competitive sports, much less three sports at once. “Can you swim?” she asked. Yes, I love to swim, but what about my hair? It’s an African American woman’s biggest nightmare and toughest obstacle to a sustained fitness routine. At least that’s the excuse I offered. “Can you bike?” she asked. Well, not since I was a teenager, but I suppose it’s like… uh… riding a bike. [Insert nervous laughter.] “Can you run?” she asked. Not unless someone is chasing me. [Insert genuine laughter!]
But somehow she was able to convince me to say yes. There were mini (sprint) triathlons made for first-timers like me. She promised to help me train. She developed a workout plan for me and insisted that I focus only on the daily workout, not the daunting end goal. And so the process began. When I complained, she admonished me for wasting energy better spent on sustaining my heart rate. When I slowed down, she encouraged me to push past the invisible, mental wall. When I became overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all, she helped me focus on the five feet immediately in front of me.
Three triathlons later, I am humbled by the amount of time, energy, and patience my colleague invested in me, the extraordinary amount of care she took in advancing my health and well-being, and the tremendous pride she exhibited in each accomplishment, no matter how small.
In July 2014, I introduced a theme for my one-year term as president of the Mecklenburg County Bar - “MCB Cares.” The theme is both internally focused on MCB members and externally focused on the larger community in which we live, serve, and practice law. It is important to the health and well-being of our members, our practice, and our community that we take care of ourselves and each other. In keeping with that theme, I am pleased to announce the introduction of our first MCB Cares 5K that will be held on June 13, 2015. I want to thank Corie Pauling (TIAA-CREF Legal Department) for agreeing to lead this initiative.
We invite MCB members, as well as our friends and neighbors, to participate in the MCB Cares 5K. More details will be coming soon, but I hope you’ll add this to your list of new year resolutions and that you’ll find a workout partner or team to help keep you on track. If you’re not particularly athletic, like I was, start small. Stay focused on short-term goals and celebrate each milestone. By spring, you’ll notice an increase in your fitness and energy levels and an overall improvement in your ability to manage stress.
If you’re physically limited in your ability to run, we plan to offer the option of a short, leisurely walk to cultivate camaraderie and inclusion among as many of our members as possible.
The MCB Cares 5K is also a phenomenal opportunity to engage the community in which we practice. It’s an opportunity to share the casual, sweaty, regular side of who we are and what we do with our clients, Bar & Foundation Center neighbors, and friends in a way that makes us more relatable, accessible, and serviceable.
Like my colleague’s triathlon suggestion, the MCB Cares 5K may be a stretch goal; but I hope you’ll embrace it with as much excitement and enthusiasm as the first day of law school.
Best wishes for a healthy, active, and prosperous new year. I look forward to seeing you at the next Bar event in 2015!