I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I live my life.
I don’t mean on a moral or ethical level, although that is equally important, but rather in “carpe diem”, “grand-scheme-of-things”, “what am I doing with the time I have on this earth” sort of way.
Let me back up.
About two months ago, I was chatting on the phone with my dear old buddy Marshall. In addition to being a loyal and trustworthy friend, Marshall is a running machine of sorts. Running comes as easily to him as bad jokes come to me. It’s just a gift.
That being said – running a marathon is no small task for anyone, even well oiled machines. On the phone that night, Marshall was describing the many hurdles he traversed while training for and completing his first marathon. I found myself fully inspired, not to mention encouraged, by the passion in his voice. (As a side note, the expression “not to mention…” is really odd. I don’t know if it makes sense. I mean, you DID just mention it… but I digress…)
My inspiration was not to run a marathon. That’s not a goal that stokes my passion. Instead, it came from something he said. “Stephen – I have never been stretched as thin and pushed as hard as I was in achieving this goal.” I think that’s a fairly simple concept to wrap our brains around. He hadn’t just unraveled pedantic theories of astrophysics. But still, it struck a simple guy like me quite deeply.
Like I said… I’ve been thinking about how I live my life.
I am a fairly goal-oriented guy. I like to think that when I confront or foresee challenges, I rise to them. Sometimes dramatically. But I think it is sometimes my habit to set goals I believe I can achieve from where I stand today. Good goals. Worthy of my time and effort. But these alone don’t require me to grow deeper or stronger than I already am. Essentially, all that is required is my effort.
But what about the finish lines beyond the view of my current perspective? If I take myself from point A to point B – if I stretch myself beyond what I believe I am capable of – won’t the reward be so much greater?
To use my friend with the tireless legs as the example: am I settling to run the distance I know I can complete instead of pushing myself towards the horizon just beyond my sight? There’s a world of wonder just beyond the mountains in my mind. Mountains aren’t easy to climb and they aren’t simply conquered on a whim. But the view from the top provides its own reward… not to mention the joy in the journey itself. (although I did just mention it.)
Let’s take a hike. Together.