I picked up running a while ago. It was the cheapest, lowest maintenance exercise I could think of, without having to pay any gym fees or buy expensive equipment.
The first time I ran, I did it for less than 3 minutes before feeling like I was going to have a heart attack. I guess I should expect it since I don’t remember working my heart at all for the past 1.5 decades? Murakami only started running when he was 33, and he remained a daily runner (yearly marathoner + triathlete) till today, so I remain hopeful.
I started running once a week, every Sunday, then I slowly added the count, at the peak of it, I was running 3x a day, progressing from running less than a mile, to almost 2 miles, non-stop.
I was going to write an epic blog post of how I conquered my lifelong dislike of running, till I stopped running two weeks ago. The ‘time of the month’ arrived, I felt too drained to run, so I broke my own momentum of running 3x a week.
Breaking that momentum was more impactful than I thought it would be, the comedian Seinfield even has a phrase coined for it, called “breaking the chain”. I lost my momentum and in turn I lost my motivation to keep on running.
I could have and would have (based on my old self) started to be the greatest wet blanket to myself and gave up running altogether. It wasn’t only the physical impact of running itself, it had a strong mental impact on me. I was training my endurance, and by breaking my momentum, psychologically I went down the whole spiral of blaming myself for not having enough will. And it could go on and on, for an indefinite amount of time, wearing myself down subconsciously.
That is the recurring theme of the things I try and want to do. Be it an exercise, a side project or whatever. I make great strides forward with a limitless optimism, then I stumble and fall, most of the time I don’t get back into trying again because I convince myself that I am not strong enough. Or this is just “not me”.
Then, the epiphany. That it doesn’t matter how many strides I take backwards, how many times I stumble, how many times I break my momentum. As long as I am willing to try again, to move forward again, that is all that matters.
The desire to still take leaps of faith, to explore the unknown, to be open-minded to new ideas, to be vulnerable to people, no matter how many times I get hurt, how much pain I used to feel, how many times I have gotten lost, or had fallen flat on my face – that desire to experience life and constantly be willing to tear myself apart and put myself back together again: to me, that is key to experiencing life.
Perhaps I’ll lose interest in running again, for a thousand reasons I can think of. Maybe I’ll truly find another exercise that I can adequately sustain for longer periods. But it is the intent that matters to me. The intent to be a better human being, despite all my trials, tribulations and failures.
I would rather keep on trying and stumbling, keep on trying to eat better but end up bingeing, than to sit there, not wanting to change a thing.
It is the same as me telling people I want to change the world. They tell me it is impossible. But I rather try to do the impossible, than to accept everything is impossible and live life not daring greatly.
I am small now. I feel small now. But who knows? Just two years ago, I wouldn’t even contemplate setting my foot in San Francisco, much less to live here today.
The same goes with my side projects. I lose sight of them, I get busy, I neglect them for a long long while, but my heart never forgets them. I keep wanting to return to them, always.
The fire burns on brightly, even if I am my own wettest blanket.