Thursday, April 19, 2012

{life in the slow lane}

When I was eleven, I was forced to run the 800 metres for Sports Day. I had (mistakenly) believed that if I left it long enough to sign up for an event, I'd be able to relax on the field all afternoon, sunning myself and making daisy-chains, watching others compete. And so the nice events, the javelinning and the shot-putting and the jumping-over-or-into things, all went to my cleverer (and less cunning) classmates.

I had no idea that the race would prove so prophetic of my entire sprint-or-crawl pace of life.

On race day, I ran, flat out, for a hundred metres, and then limped and panted and groaned until my breath returned. And repeated, and repeated, until the finish line, where I promptly fainted into a sad little heap.

So here I find myself, double as many and more years later, making mad, short dashes to achieve something, some distance. Long nights of frantic sewing -- my own personal sweat-shop. Nights-upon-nights of commitments. Weeks of sprinting this life alone while Justin is travelling for work. Social and personal sprints. And then inevitable collapse. Regain of breath. Repeat. Repeat.

Now, predicting that it'll take a few weeks or months to regain my breath as we stumble through the first tiring leg of a new adventure, I finally feel at peace with the slow, crawling pace. While all motivation to sew or create has disappeared, (to be replaced only by motivation to crawl into bed, whatever time of day it is) I've fallen back in love with the steady and undemanding pace of words. To read and write fiction, it seems, is the way to be occupied. An unread novel by a favourite author, so patiently waiting on the shelf, read in bed. A writing challenge set by an old friend, slowly worked upon.

Of course, this means giving up on some of the more energetic goals. In January, we'd set ourselves the goal of running a 5K this year, without walking. It was supposed to be achieved this last weekend, at the Run for Compassion, but the goal of not walking was quickly replaced by the goals of not falling down dead and not being sick on the road. But it still felt good -- an accomplishment, in a different way -- to walk across the finish line, alive, exhausted, and keeping pace with a toddler making her first run.

Whenever I can't stand my own mental booing, though -- the voice inside that says "Keep running! You'll lose! Faster! Faster!" -- I watch this video (via Cloistered Away) and see the power of crawling across the finish line. And remember the clapping, and the guidance, and feel thankful for the people who stand and cheer, even for those who walk the race.


Loreal said...

Does this mean what I think it means?!?!?! If so, CONGRATS!!!

Michelle @ rockMYroll said...

This is exactly how I have been thinking (blogged about!) lately!!
I never knew it was so hard to slow down and stop "losing". But I too am learning slowly