A few weeks ago, my brother-in-law’s brother came to Greece from England to run the classic Athens Marathon. He’d been training for a few months and the night before he was calmer than I was. I was not the one who was  going to get up at the crack of dawn and run 42 kilometers in the cold and rain, yet I was jittery for him.

“Are you nervous?” I asked.

“Nope.” he replied and leaned back into the chair with his trademark relaxed grin.

Two hours after he’d finished the marathon, we all gathered for a hearty lunch at home.

“How do you feel?” I asked.

“Good.” he said and leaned back into his chair as if he’d spent a day at the beach instead.

When I told Pinelopi that I found his whole presence inspirational, she asked for clarification.

“You want to run a marathon?”

“No, I really don’t. But I could do a 5K, couldn’t I?”

“Do you want to do that?”

“Maybe? I don’t know. He just made it look so do-able.”

I’ve been thinking about inspiration since then. I’ve also been thinking about change. In the last year, I’ve tried to complete the Couch to 5K programme three times. And every time, I stop on the third week. I’ve started again this week with the same determination as before, but this time I’m wary.

During the third 90 second run on today’s workout, I couldn’t help but think: “Why even bother again? You’ve never stuck to anything, let alone exercise. What makes you think you’re going to change now?”

There are all these kinds of people I’ve wanted to be in my life. I’ve wanted to be The Person Who Journals, The Social Butterfly, The Hostess with The Mostest, The Whimsical Crafter, The Marathon Runner, The Dancer (well, the Person Who Has Some Sense of Rhythm), The Business Woman, The Designer, The Master Chef, The Photographer.

Now, I find myself in an uncomfortable position. I’ve accepted who I am but at the same time I want to do things that require me to be something that I’ve never been.

I’m not organized, I’m not particularly disciplined and I’m not good at sticking to a schedule. Can I change these things?

When I get frustrated with my mother for doing an idiosyncratic mother thing, my sister tells me:

“Honey, she’s in her 70s. You have to accept that she’s done changing.”

So, how much can we really change in our lifetimes? And when we do stop trying? Do we ever stop trying? Or do we just learn the best way to work within our limitations? 

‘Cause I’m stumped.