Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marathon Lessons

Back in 8th grade, I wanted a letter to prove I'd made an "A" team more than anything. So desperate was I to achieve this, I even tried out for the one sport my common sense had always told me...you can't do. That's right, Track. But I'm not fast. I'm not tall. I don't jump. So what could a b-team bench warmer do on a track team?

Cross Country.

Now I did make the team and run a 1320 (3/4 of a mile), and I even got a ribbon. I was fifth. The fact that there were five people running doesn't really matter. Before the race, there were more but several quit. On the third lap in, everyone else that had not dropped out had finished. That track felt lonely and quiet and tedious.

I was hot.
I was unhappy.
I lay down.
I thought about just staying there. (At 13, melodrama is a way of life).

Then, I got up and started moving again and the why fell way as I just kept going.
It wasn't that I signed up that got me a letter from the "A" team. It was that I didn't let myself quit.

So I apologize to all of you that read my "Full Plate" essay. Every word of it was true. (I felt overwhelmed and exhausted and frustrated and all those self absorbed things one feels at 43 that supposedly aren't melodrama because they aren't adolescent). What I needed, was to stop and reassert priorities. But when you feel all those things, it's hard to think, let alone assess.

Three weeks of observing the world dripping with stories that I wasn't writing drove me crazy. Some of those mental photos and turns of phrase would be lost forever. I don't know if such things are agony for anyone else but they haunt me.

So I promise not to flounce.
I promise not to lie down on the track anymore.
I'll finish the race even if I'm stuck running around this track after everyone else has lapped me twice.

What does that mean?

It means I'll be pouring out words for as long as I have access to a computer, but only after I've read to my kids, made sure they've done their homework, bathed, and I've given a bit of time to my husband, the needs of the house and my extended family and friends. I promise to be present in words and deeds.

I'll get fifth for finishing last, and I'll be just as proud of that ribbon as I am of the yellow one that hangs in my office from 1980.

Thanks for coming back.


MightyMom said...

we all gotta take a break and reorder those priorities dearie...every now and again you just gotta disappear and rediscover why you keep a blog to begin with!

welcome back.

MightyMom said...

off topic:

please come and play Thesaurus Thursday today!

Rose said...

I lettered in track, if you can call it that, by managing the team. No idea what that meant exactly except that I went to practice and didn't run. Sometimes I carried stuff. Mostly I hung out. In college, I started running.....slowly. I got a first place medal in a race after being the only person in my age category. Buoyed by my success, I later entered a mini-triathlon. Toward the end, I gasped past a woman who was at least 6 months pregnant and power walking. I was "running." I figure, by passing a pregnant woman like that, I beat 2 people to the finish line that day. Sometimes, showing up is half the battle. Erma wrote a great column one time, I keep a copy around here somewhere. It was titled "Sometimes There's No Audience." I take it out and read it every now and then.

JimmyV said...

Totally awesome. I missed your blog and I'm glad to know that I am not melodramatic, just self-absorbed. Maybe I'll take a break too.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!