So, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Among other things, I want to be in the Olympics for three-day eventing or gymnastics—not really quite sure yet where I would be more likely to medal; have a really rich, hot husband with an obscure job, straight teeth, dark features and no children, who loves me; adopt a teenager from Wednesday’s Child who will also love me; go on weekend trips to quaint towns with unique architecture and waterfront views; be an acclaimed writer; inspire millions to do great things; be a campaign manager for some dark-horse Democrat; be a presidential aide, preferably for Abraham Lincoln; run for Congress and actually go to work; design some clothes; own a chain of successful, sustainable, vegan-inspired restaurants; build something in Africa; have a library and the most amazing kitchen ever in my modest home in a private neighborhood on either a lake, river or bay; ride Tate around a one-star and crush everyone; and eat cheesecake for breakfast, made by my live-in raw-food chef.
Growing up in America is pretty awesome. I think we all should acknowledge this—especially us horse people. However, I think the worst thing anyone ever told us is that we can have it all.
While it is apparent that there were good intentions behind this grandeur promise—a hope to inspire seas of privileged kids to do great things in the world—what they did not tell us was that we probably shouldn’t take “all” literally. (Or perhaps they could have been a little more clear about the work and sacrifice required to have it all.)
As an American, I am already predisposed to being pretty greedy, and now you’re telling me I can do and have pretty much whatever I want just because I’m alive?? Awesome!!
It took me about 27 years to sniff this out as a fallacy. And now I’m here to tell you something you may not like: You really can’t have it all.
My good friend asked me the other day what my Guru would say about the fact that she feels guilty or gains weight every time she breaks her diet. Are we never supposed to eat a bowl of pasta again?
As her friend and an American and someone who generally gets what I want and does what I want, I really wanted to tell her, “You deserve it! YOLO! You can’t expect to be perfect all the time.” Which is true, to a point. But the real answer to her question is, Guru would challenge her to stop feeling entitled to these things that in turn make us feel negative.
We do deserve it, and we do work hard, and YOLO! But what we as Americans fail to acknowledge is that yes, if you eat that cheesecake, you are still going to gain weight, regardless of how many hours you spent working for the man, or if you helped a little granny across the road, or if you cured cancer. For some reason we feel extremely entitled to rewards.
This makes it hard to function in life. Like, real life and horse life. We all strive to have a good work/life balance. But we also want to be Olympians. Or the best at whatever it is we do.
I personally struggle with this on a daily basis. I want it ALL. I want to be a top rider, and I want to make a lot of money, and I want to spend two hours in the gym everyday, and I want to get a full eight hours of sleep, and I want to prep all my meals, and I want a social life and time away and time to keep my house and do other jobs, etc. And damn it, I feel entitled to all of it, because I work really hard toward all these goals, collectively about 18 hours a day.
But realistically, there is not enough time in the day for all of this. And so until I can acknowledge that sure, I can have it all, but I’ll just have to give up sleeping, I won’t be happy.
David O’Connor asked, “What is the price you are willing to pay?” I really love this question and have referenced it often. It is a good, grounding, slap-you-in-the-face-with-realism question that everyone needs to ask themselves about everything they want in their life.
You have to set a goal, and then you have to realistically evaluate the cost of achieving that goal.
You want to be a fitter rider, but you don’t have any time in your day to work toward your new goal, and you don’t have enough money to shop at organic stores, and you have kids who are always eating macaroni and cheese, and “vegetables are gross, and I hate the taste of them,” and “woe is me, woe is me…”
Why aren’t you getting any fitter? You aren’t willing to pay the price of your new goal, and therefore you will never achieve it. And you will remain unhappy until you 1. Change the goal or 2. Pay the price.
Last weekend at Fair Hill International was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for us at SHE, and in the process I went from bringing raw celery and broccoli to the FEI compound every day and running the three-star course on foot and doing squats by the trailer parking to eating two scones, courtesy of one of Tate’s neighbors, Taco Bell and some strange vegetarian creation with what I am assuming was a lot of mayonnaise on it. The result was +2 lbs. and a horrible stomach ache. And yet at the end of the day we still were eliminated, and Sinead was still hurt, and now my jeans were a little bit tighter.
The fact that we had a crap weekend is in no way related to my quest for abs and awesomeness, yet somehow I internally and self-righteously tried to sabotage that goal because our separate goal of winning Fair Hill was not met.
What is important is not that I ate crap, but acknowledging my actions were ridiculous and in no way helpful in achieving any of my goals mentioned in paragraph one. So now I am refocusing my efforts at acquiring “It All” by redefining “All” as goals able to be achieved with direct regard to a 24-hour day, allowing at least six hours of sleep, two hours for ‘me’ time, and the fact that sometimes you just have to fall off… But if you do, you really don’t need to eat scones.
Meg’s Flavors of the Month:
I’m starting every day with a two-egg omelet loaded with broccoli, green peppers, onion and spinach. No cheese. Serve it with some fat-free Fage Greek Yogurt and Cholula hot sauce, plus half an avocado, and you have some seriously filling protein to get your day on the path to awesomeness. Remember: Eat breakfast like a King!
Listen: You need a go-to song to get the adrenaline going when you can’t bear to put on your sneakers at the end of the day. Right now for me: Britney. Work B*tch.
“Meg Kep” as she’s best known in the U.S. eventing community, resides in Chester, N.J., and works as head groom and manager at Sinead Halpin Equestrian. Meg, 28, is also committed to sustainable avenues promoting good horsemanship and the sport of eventing, and her recent dedication to fitness has inspired her to share her story and help others toward “the path of awesomeness” at MyBodyTutor.com.