This is week 17 of a countdown to 1.
At the one week mark, I shall be running a marathon.
But I’m not thinking about that. Not really.
I am thinking about beginnings.
I am thinking about how every single day if you wake up, you are given a chance to be better, be the person that you really want to be.
I’m thinking about excuses.
I’m thinking about Elena Ferrante and friendship (lovely essay by Laura Maylene Walter to be found here.) and what it feels like to be unmoored.
There are times I feel like a helium balloon and the only thing keeping me in place is the tight grasp of my children. Man, do I owe them for that.
It is so easy to get caught up in life, in friends that are no longer around, in commutes and train schedules, in a job you detest. You get home and you have laundry and dishes and homework folders that need to be gone through. By the end of it, the end of that day, all you have done is emptied the water from a row boat with a prominent hole in the center. Always emptying, never truly dry.
Do you ever feel completely exhausted? Yes, I know you do. We all do.
We’ve surrounded ourselves with things that just don’t matter in the scheme of what life is, what life should be, what we could be.
A few weeks back, I texted my best friend that we needed to do a marathon. And she said, yes, we do.
An odd response given that we’re both mid-forty and we both have bad backs. We both work full-time. We both have children that we let down on a daily basis. We can’t do everything and God help us, there are times we can do nothing.
But she said yes because she knew. She knew that feeling of beginning again.
Of starting over.
Of taking a moment, finding that impossible thing, and making it happen.
I’m running to bring me back to writing, to bring me back to a better version of me. Perhaps the best version of me.
I’ve been working on a short story and it’s horrible. You see, I’ve forgotten how to write. I’ve forgotten why it’s important. I’ve let myself drift out in a row boat with a hole.
But when I say, I’ve been writing, what I mean to say is that I wrote something that I thought had potential and then began typing it to realize it is just bad. So I stopped. I said, I can’t do this. I said, I suck. I said, what’s the point of writing anyway. Who cares?
The last marathon I ran was ten years ago. I had to prep to even begin training by running a mile run. One mile. Over and over that one mile until I could run two.
I just got home from a three and a half mile run and it’s my short run for the week.
But I’m not thinking about that. I’m not thinking about anything other than tomorrow I run again, I run just that one run.
When I’m done here, I’m going to finish typing the bad short story, the one I ran from. Then I’ve got about an hour until the Valentine’s party at my son’s school and in that time I’m going to reread my bad story and see if I can make one sentence not so bad. I’m going to see if I can make one sentence fantastic.
And that’s how I start. That’s how I plan on sealing the hole in the boat, one run, one sentence at a time.
Because every morning you get to begin again, and today I remembered that I want to spend my life rowing the boat around the lake, not scooping out the water.
One small thing today. Not tomorrow. Not next week.