The first day of fall is just around the corner, and I find myself wondering where the summer went. I mean, I spent most of it behind a desk, in a classroom, studying at a coffee shop, studying at my table, and a good chunk of it running, and swimming, and doing yoga to get ready for this half marathon I am running. October 9th is suddenly not just a day a few months away, but rapidly approaching. With school mostly marking my time, and a training schedule that is not always conducive to other obligations, I find that as the days are now starting to get shorter again, I feel there is less time to get things done. Including running. I am finding it hard to stay motivated as I look at the calendar and the things to come. Having just finished the most trying school term I have EVER had, I got one whole week to myself before this new term started Monday. It never feels like enough time to recover and re-center between finishing finals, and starting again. And as the baggage of these last few months started to get heavy, I realized something very important. It’s over. It is in the past. I have to LET IT GO. This seems fairly symbolic of what I am hoping to accomplish in the next 6 weeks. I have to approach every day that I run with a new set of legs. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other, which was a pretty amazing thing to behold when I realized that each step has taken me farther than I ever thought I could go.
I need to apply this to my daily life as well. I need to stop getting hung up on the things that have happened, and where I have been. Each new day is truly uncharted territory - I have never been here before. By approaching things in this manner, I hope that I can be easier on myself, and adjust my expectations. None of this is about how fast I complete the 13.1 miles, it’s about finishing what I started. If I simply lace up my shoes and take off running every day that I am supposed to, I will have held myself to the standard which I set out to achieve. I realize that some of this sounds a little touchy-feely, but this journey has done more for me than just to whip me into great shape physically. It has helped me mentally as well. There is a wonderful book about a man’s journey through alcohol recovery, to student, and ultimately teacher of yoga called ‘Meditations from the Mat.’ Using his mat and his practice as a mirror for his life, Rolf Gates talks about what it means to commit over to the process, and the uncomfortable things that this can bring up along the way. Ultimately it is about gaining the strength to face the challenges that life throws at us daily, big or small.
I feel that I am beginning to understand and process things myself in ways that I never have before. I am looking at my life objectively, and noticing things, but trying to change my reactions to them. I have another 15 months before school ends and I am starting my career, at which point things will drastically change again. They have already changed so much since I started one year ago. I’m hoping by consistently setting smaller goals for myself within the scope of this much larger one, it will keep me motivated to continue to rise to the challenge. There is no way to change the past, and there is no way to reliably predict the future. The “present” is also an illusion, since things can change in a moment. Really all I have is one step at a time.