The last couple of days have been cheery and thoughtful. I felt like momentum was moving forward, like I had positive energy to tackle things and share some stories I was living.
But then we got hit with a blizzard. Sure, it might have some clever branding from the cable channel that talks all about the weather, but as far as I can tell, we just got hit with a lot of snow. That heavy, wet kind of snow that is backbreaking to shovel. The kind of snow that you have to shovel as soon as it lands because you know what will happen overnight.
It freezes. It becomes impossible to move. And everything is stuck. The cars. The trash bins. Heck, there was even a garbage truck stuck in the alley today. Yes, a big old garbage truck. The tires spin, the driver flails, and the vehicle just sits there.
One woman said she pulled off on our side street to take a cell phone call, stopped paying attention, and got stuck right in the middle of the intersection. Thankfully a neighbor was around to dig her out, but what a bizarre choice (there is a plowed out gas station and parking lot a block away that she drove past, but I digress).
Today I feel stuck. The magic isn’t there. No dancing diamonds of snow or cardinals to give me an unexpected lift, or even a motivation to write about as I sit here. I have half a mind to give up, write the day off as a loss and come back tomorrow and try again.
Basketball was my thing in middle school and high school. It was a big thing for me when I first tried out, because I had a physical crutch. Asthma. No, not the kind everybody seems to have now, but the kind that meant being hooked up to the mask and the machine every day in the principals office in elementary school. The hard core asthma. The ER in the middle of the night because of an asthma attack kind.
And when I signed up to play basketball, I couldn’t run a mile. Like, straight up, had to walk half of it. I wasn’t overweight, had a good BMI and all of that, but I couldn’t run a mile. And in middle school I got by without it.
But come time for the big kids team and the coach said something like “Simmer, if you’re going to be on this team you will run a mile without walking. Heck, I will run it with you if it comes to that, but you’ll run the damned mile.” Imagine a 5’ 6" overweight Vietnam War drill sergeant and you’ve got the rough idea.
As a stereotypical teenage boy, the last thing you are willing to let happen is have a 50 year old out of shape man run a mile while you can’t. No way. So I pushed. And pushed. But every time the asthma burn would show up, I’d stop. And as the deadline approach one of my teammates pulled me aside and told me
You’re quitting on yourself. Every time it hurts a little you quit. Next time it hurts, keep running. Count every step if you have to. Just run the mile.
He actually ended up running with me that day, and once I started to pull up to walk he grabbed my arm and screamed “oh no you don’t!” We were in a public park. A lot of people were around. In hindsight, the insanity of the scene was surely priceless.
I finished the mile. Without walking. And then I did again, and again. To the point where running a mile was not a big deal anymore.
But the reality was I had to get past the psychology of giving up. I had the inhalers to deal with the issue, I just used my asthma as my cop out. And it was crap. In the end, I ran the mile because I NOT running it was a worse option.
I think that’s where I am at with my own personal goals and aspirations. While I a not making a bunch of resolutions this year, I am resolving to not quit on pushing ahead in life. I’m learning to live and love my own story and encourage others to do the same.
So when I am stuck? I’m still going to do something. It might be lame, or feel uninspired, but I am going to go it. At the very least, I sure as heck don’t want Coach coming back from the dead, sitting here and writing with me, I don’t think that would be a highlight.
photo used under a Creative Commons license and sourced from here.