Perhaps one of the reasons runners write and talk about running so much is the number of life lessons one learns through taking up running. Today as I went round and round the indoor track in the university gym, I realized that keeping going is as important as Getting Started. http://wp.me/p30cSQ-8U I haven’t been a runner for long and I haven’t run any of the really long distances, but even so, there often moments in many runs when I think about cutting the day’s run short. Two miles is enough today, isn’t it? There’s a point when it’s necessary to decide whether or not to keep going.
I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, someone will always, always give you a hand. Always. But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving.
There are as many times in daily life as on regular runs to decide whether or not to keep going. I kept going and graduated from law school after I knew I wasn’t going to practice law. I kept going and completed my doctorate though there were times when work was so busy or life was so complicated that I debated the wisdom of continuing.
But it was the summer I spent coloring mandalas that taught me one of more interesting lessons about deciding to continue. Long before the idea of adults buying coloring books became, somewhat, mainstream, I found a wonderful collection of blank mandalas complete with colored pencils. And I started coloring. It was fun and each was different, some simple and some complicated, but with each one, I had a similar experience. At some point toward the middle, I looked at what I had done and thought, this is going to be terrible. But I kept going and most times by the time I finished it wasn’t so terrible. Sometimes I even liked it.
And then there’s knitting. When doing a large project, there’s a point when it gets dull. It’s often more interesting, certainly more challenging to get started. When the end is in sight, there’s an energy about finishing. But the middle of a project can be draggy even if you like the pattern and the material. Knitters have to decide to keep going and not merely keep starting new projects over and over again.
In running, the decision-making can be more complicated. After all the achy knee may need to be warmed up through running, but it may also be a minor injury that would be made worse by continuing to run. And of course there are analogous situations in life as well. There are times to step away from a job, from a relationship, even from a project. The challenge is always knowing which to do.
For me, running, knitting, even coloring mandalas, all things I enjoy doing, teach me about keeping going. And that’s a useful thing to remember whether in running, knitting, school, work, or anything else you want to accomplish.
Good luck in keeping going toward the things that are important to you!