Some say being focused on something constitutes obsession. If an activity takes priority over things that are more important, I would agree. But sometimes certain activities require a level of commitment to be successful. For me, improving my physical fitness takes a good deal of time. The best use of my time is to train in the early morning before work, and/or before anyone is awake. It isn't always easy to wake up at 3:30 or 4am, especially when it is zero degrees outside. That, combined with doing my best to not interfere with family time, makes this endeavor more challenging, given an alternative option is to lay on the sofa and do nothing but channel surf and consume the Holy Trinity of food: pizza, pasta, and pancakes.
So, this wagon is moving along quickly, and I am doing my best to stay on board. I feel better than I ever have. My weight is at or below what it was in college (I'm now 42), and I think I am as healthy as I have ever been (my resting pulse is 44 bpm and blood pressure is low). I can and should eat better and get more sleep, and I'm working on it.
So what is my point? I think you have to have some degree of passion or obsession to push yourself to achieve things. It isn't always easy finding the thing or things that spark a change from within, but when you do, you want to get rolling and hit it hard. For me, I want to get my speed back to a respectable age group level, and not only have a decent finish at Big Sur but then push the envelope further beyond my comfort factor and compete in the July 2008 Muncie Endurathon, a 1/2 Ironman distance event.
So how does one find balance between what for some people may seem a selfish drive to recapture youth, defy aging, or a fulfill a mid-life event, and a solid family life where there is enough energy and focus left for sharing with a spouse and two energetic young boys? How is it not selfish to commit what is sometimes 10+ hours each week (and can eventually double)? I'm still trying to figure this out.