I woke up a few days ago and realized that life is a marathon, not a sprint. No Nobel prize for creativity in that observation, but what made it crucial was the fact that my life is a marathon, not a sprint, and I’m not in shape.
Like most people, my New Year’s resolution list often has the same things on it, year after year. This year, I just have one resolution, because life is too short to fritter away anymore. No new diagnosis of physical deterioration: just a realization that time’s wasting. So Monday morning I start training for a marathon.
It’s a metaphor. Like my favorite metaphors, however, it’s also a reality. I hate running more than anything else on earth. I’d rather pull my toenails off than run uphill. Born with dislocated hips, I don’t walk right, and running hurts. Besides, I’m lazy and would rather read books.
However, a year ago a dear mentor whispered in my ear, “Get fit,” and though I knew it was the thing to do, I ignored it. It didn’t make sense in the scheme of my life to dedicate that kind of effort to something self-fulfilling and outside my personal mission. I had a passing interest in wearing a salwar kameez, but it wasn’t enough to balance aching joints.
Then I began evaluating my leadership style and realized that I lack the self-discipline to be a balanced leader. And suddenly I knew that my mentor knew what he was doing. Nothing would build self-discipline (for me) like running. Nothing would fill in the missing things in my character like training for a marathon.
So I begin training for a 5K Monday. I will run one, somewhere, in March, even if I map the course and run it by myself. I take a week off, then begin training for a 10K. After running that, perhaps again all by myself, the training for a half marathon begins. I don’t care how long it takes me to run it. I don’t care if I beat anyone. What’s important is that I train and run and finish.
My one New Year’s resolution is to do the thing I think I cannot do. Here’s to you Eleanor, and thanks be to a patient mentor. See you both at the finish line.