I said I was walking away from this project for now but on my ride to work this morning, I had the sudden urge to write. I just felt compelled to come back to this keyboard and divulge in a space that is “easy.” A format that is usual and familiar. Getting the new project going has been a tad more difficult than I anticipated. Fictional writing is like any other task in this world: you don’t use it, you lose it. And so, every moment I try to begin, it ends just as suddenly, with me staring blankly at the computer screen. Which is just like, this vast, white space. All I can think is: “Why do I care if I do this so bad?” But I already know the answer. It’s a way to stave off the feeling that I have, in some way, failed in my 20’s, to do all the grand things I swore I would do as a child. So, in my very early 30’s, I am making a point to get to it. I mean, life is short. We have limited time to be meaningful. I might as well light that fire, before it burns out.
Anyways, this week has been emotional for me. I don’t have any idea as to why. Everything seems to be sending me into some sort of meltdown mode and I crave the days when it seemed as though I could do everything. Remember that? Remember when people once asked me: how do you do it? Now people are asking me things like: “You forgot we made those plans? Yea, the ones you set, months ago and I reminded you of twenty-seven times.” I have tried to find a way to manage. I even bought myself a day planner because God forbid I use my very expensive iphone with a fancy ass calendar. Who needs that? It’s my illusion that using pen and paper will do me right. So far, it’s just an empty book sitting on my desk at work.
As for running, after this last marathon, I have felt, well, abandoned and unmotivated. I say abandoned because I feel like some part of my old self went off and left. My legs are sore. My inclination is to give up far more easily than I use to. Hills crush my soul. The miles feel so long. I have to convince myself to even step out the door. I know this is a gift and I am certainly grateful but right now, it feels tedious. The joy has been a little removed. It’s all about time and pace and diet. I’m getting tired of it.
One year ago, May 26th, I came, and conquered Boston’s Run to Remember. It was my first half marathon since my doctors told me I would never run that distance again. I remember just being proud and elated. I was happy just to be out there and I genuinely enjoyed EVERY moment of it. Every. Moment. I laughed. I cried. I relished in it all. The joy and the misery. But mostly the joy. And I didn’t care about pace. I finished in 2:14 and I was just thrilled to have that medal. That medal meant that I could and I would, come back to this sport. In one year, man, I have grabbed life by the balls. 2 marathons, half a dozen half marathons, a few races of various distances. Some have been good. Others have been great. One or two have been epic. One or two, almost broke me completely. But in the midst of all these miles have been places and faces and I have learned so much about the road and of course, myself.
Returning to this race Sunday won’t be anything more than a casual stroll. I’m just not, going, to do it, to myself. If I do, I swear, I may just quit this all together. The pressure is killing me for some reason. I need a race where I smile after, rather than wanting to crawl on the floor and have someone hit me with their moving vehicle. And since this race means so much to me, there is no better venue to just let it all go.
I remember mile 12.5 last year, after it had rained most of the morning, cresting this tiny hill and seeing the clouds open to sunshine. I remember thinking to myself: “That’s where you are. I sure may miss you, but these things keep me present. I know you’re still alive.” With that in mind, knowing that I have working legs and those that are no longer here do not, I bolted for that finish, missing my family completely but feeling 100% alive. I have no doubt that this year he will give me some sort of sign again. I just have to be patient enough to look for it. I have to be paying attention. Wrenching in agony, won’t allow that to happen.
There are so many lovely things right now. I just have to focus on that.
My husband and children.
And of course, every breath we take, as people living lives, that are sometimes quietly difficult.