New Year’s resolutions give me the heeby-jeebies. Big time. And yet, every year, I find myself making them. And breaking them, almost immediately. It’s a sickness. Someone should make a pill for it.
For the past, oh, I don’t know, say gazillion years, one of my New Year’s resolutions involves running. That I’m going to start running. Keep running. Find my stride. Enter races. Place in said races.
*Enter daydream sequence here* Que music: Chariots of Fire, of course. It’s a rainy race day; but true athlete that I am, no amount of drizzle will keep me from putting one foot in front of the other in an effort to be the very best I can be. The finish-line ribbon is just ahead. So is one other runner. Some Amazon with long, sculpted legs of steel. She looks like she was bred to run. She’s probably been running since infancy. She doesn’t know how hard I’ve worked; she can’t understand the obstacles I’ve had to overcome (yes, in my daydream, sheer laziness is a plague one cannot blame oneself for; it’s simply a mountain to climb. I told you this is a sickness). My legs pump faster, harder. I cross the finish line first, barely. My opponent weeps out of joy for me.
Seriously. This daydream has to be brought on by some kind of chemical imbalance. Big pharma, where are you when I need you?
I used to run. Two miles every day in high school through my first year of college. I loved running. Not because I was good at it, or fast…oh, no. Not at all. In fact, I believe my running style could best be described as Drunk girl slowly being chased by no one. But it was just me, solitary, on some lonely country road in south-central middle-of-nowhere Kansas. Endless skies. Dusty gravel. Pretty, simple country birds. Cows. Sometimes a tractor or truck would pass by. But it was such a quiet, simple place to be. I’ve never loved running because of how I felt doing it; I’ve loved it because it was a way to be totally, utterly alone.
These days, I’m never really alone. It’s not for lack of opportunity – the hubster is awesome about letting me have ‘me’ time whenever I want/need it. I don’t take him up on it as often as I should – not because it’s something I don’t want, but because I find when I am alone, I still can’t shut off. I can’t get there like I used to. I can’t find a way to get to that flat-line buzz I used to have all those years ago, as a teenager running alone in the country. Maybe that’s one of the caveats to being a grown-up: you can never fully shut off like you could when you were younger. Too many burdens in daily life to accomplish it.
This year is nearly finished. I’m going to turn thirty-three in a few days. And I’m thinking, once again, about what I want this next year to look like. I know I’ll find my way to New Year’s resolutions; it’s compulsive, I can’t help it. And running will probably make its way onto the list again. Not as an ill-fated foray into escapism, but as a means to other ends (namely, shedding baby weight after #4 comes in April). Because I think I may have finally come to terms with the fact that the thing that I was striding for in running is something that’s out of my grasp…something I’ve lost in my adulthood, that has its place only in childhood – that short, short time of life when trouble can be forgotten by simply putting one foot in front of the other.
I know that sounds like a dark and gloomy place to start the new year, but really, I don’t feel that way. I’m as hopeful about this coming year as any other that has passed. I’m just done chasing that particular rainbow. I may never be able to travel through this life without the burdens adulthood places on my shoulders, but I’m strong enough to carry them. I don’t need to escape them. And that feels pretty good – recognizing my own strength, and not shrinking away from life and the curveballs it’s guaranteed to throw at me on more than one occasion during the next 370-some-odd days.
I want to hear about you, sweet friendlies. Does the year’s-end prompt introspection in you? Are you replacing New Year’s resolution repeats with newer, improved resolutions? Don’t be shy!