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 a “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 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 an 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.