Game on! Today I begin the third of an 8-week training program to run the B&O Express 5K in September - my first race since fall 2010. Registration's done and everything! I'm following Hal Higdon like I did for the Mini a couple years ago, mainly because his novice program measures distance instead of time and the thought of switching my pace at the bark of a sports watch is about as appealing as watching paint dry.
I'm going after this thing, no excuses.
In an effort to strike that elusive balance of family, work and self, I'm attempting again to score the majority of my runs in the morning, even during the work week, which thankfully is much easier in July when the sun shines at 6 a.m. It also helps that Luke is running, too, and on the cusp of starting training for his first half. It's nice to swap notes and offer encouragement knowing your passion comes from a shared place.
It's also refreshing to rediscover something that brings me joy on such a grand scale. I read an article a few weeks ago on the importance of leisure and the dangers of the busy trap that made an impact on me. Some of my favorite lines:
"The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life; it’s something we’ve chosen, if only by our acquiescence to it."
"More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary."
(Luckily, businesswoman is considered an actual vocation in Sally, Huckle and Lowly's world, though I doubt a more detailed description would rank any higher on the legitimacy scale than those "What my mom thinks I do" memes on Facebook)
"I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy."
Amen, Tim Kreider.
For the most part, Luke and I do a good job of prioritizing our lives. We're selective with RSVPs and intentional about giving the kids plenty of unstructured time to play Legos, build block towers and narrate stories with their artwork (no lie). This is also true from a financial standpoint: low mortgage, zero car debt, no cable or landline. We certainly have room to grow (Emergency Fund, is it me you're looking for?), but we're on the right track.
When it comes to the "little moments," though, I personally am terrible with letting distractions get in the way of spending time on things that matter. I can waste an hour on Facebook while Liam has no baby book. I can click through my blogroll (still no reader, Jen!) but let my own site collect dust. I check work e-mail when I shouldn't. I watch TV instead of going to sleep.
I often let my long-term goals take a backseat to busyness that, in the end, doesn't amount to anything.
This week was somewhat of a new start. I followed my training schedule, gave a reference for a friend, assembled two care packages, caught up on some reading, and had lunch with Luke and the kids at work. That's what I want to do more of. Those are the moments that make a happy life. There are no prizes for Quickest Responder on Outlook or Most Scrubs Episodes Watched.
I want to send more care packages. I want to finish a book in the same season I started it. I want to copy favorite quotes into a two-dollar notebook and scrapbook (GASP) and help others outside of just writing a check.
It's not that I never do any of these things (I even have a commonplace book for quotes, remember?); it's about rearranging my life so I can do them more.
I also want to make more time for God.
One of the reasons Luke and I love our church is that the pastors deliver amazing sermons. Today, Pastor Ted talked about communicating with God - how to know when He's speaking to you and how receptive you are to hearing what he has to say. This is something I struggle with. While I love talking out ideas and scenarios with family and friends, I'm very independent and usually pretty confident that I can figure out my own path. I'm good at thanking God for the blessings in my life, but I suck at welcoming guidance.
On one of my early runs last week - it couldn't have been later than 6:15 - I passed the retention pond next to my trail that joins several of the nicer subdivisions in my neighborhood. By chance I noticed one of the teenagers who lives on my block sitting on a bench in front of the pond. Usually I see him after work riding his skateboard or walking with his friends, but that morning he was alone, quiet, just staring at the water.
That image came back to me at random points throughout the day and again after today's sermon. It reminded me that I need more stillness in my life so I can hear voices other than my own. I need to be open to guidance.
That's a life worth choosing.