Running and Chasing

Whenever I get into my over-analytical, over-philosophical, over-exaggerated mindset of trying to find the meaning of life, I always somehow relate everything to running. I’ve always attributed my reasons for running to the problems that I’m usually running away from. To me, running is just one big metaphor for life. Whether it be figurative or literal, I’m always running to or from something or someone.

I’m inside my head a lot. I tend to constantly read too much into things and repeatedly go over it in my mind. Whenever I find it too overwhelming being inside my head, I run. I run because it’s the only thing that can suppress my thoughts. At first, when I start to run, a million thoughts are also running inside my head. Eventually, my thoughts dissipate and my mind goes blank. Then, I’m at peace.

I wish it was that easy for me to be at peace without having to physically go for a run.

I’ve been running for my entire life. I should really say chasing.

Ever since I was young, I’ve always been impatient. I still am. I’ve always wanted things to happen right away. I’ve always wanted fast results. I guess that’s what drew me to running. The concept of time and being in control of your time.

I’ve always chased after the things I wanted because I figured that if you wanted something bad enough, you have to go after it yourself. Having that mindset has definitely helped my success in life. Being a “go-getter” is typically a good thing. However, my Mother always told me that I need to learn patience. As I’m getting older, I’ve found that to be more and more true.

There are some things that you can’t chase after. There are some things that you can’t control. There are some things that just come in time. This is a concept that has been difficult for me to wrap my head around because I’ve always attained the things I wanted by going after it. However, some of the things worth having come to you by being patient.

I don’t know how or when it’s going to happen, but I need to learn to stop running so much. And when I say running, I mean it figuratively. I need to stop chasing after the things that can’t be chased.

Every second, every minute, every hour

It only seems appropriate to write about the inexplicable mystery that is “time” on the longest day of the calendar year.

The first day of Summer.

I’ve most likely already made some sort of reference as to how much I’ve realized just how precious every second of every minute of every hour is ever since I’ve moved into New York City.

Maybe it’s just more noticeable in New York City because our entire days are based off of a schedule that we cannot control; the bus, the subway, the train…public transportation in general. If you’re even a second late walking through that turnstile in the subway, you could miss your train to work, or to a friend’s house, or going back home. That very instance could drastically change the entire course of your day.

It’s impossible to trace back to the very moment that could have made everything different though. Instead, it’s a compilation of the tiny moments and milliseconds that we were early or late.

We’re always in a rush in New York City.

Everyone always has somewhere to be and other people are just an obstacle standing our way.

But the thing that really gets to me is the interactions that we have (or don’t have) with the people around us.

Call me an ooey-gooey romantic, but I always have that ongoing fantasy of bumping into the love of my life at a coffee shop or on the subway in passing or in Central Park.

For the millions of people who live here, it’s really difficult to take the time to get to know someone that way. That’s definitely something that I’ve been adjusting to over the course of time that I’ve been here.

My inspiration for this blog entry comes from the people whom I have met since I’ve moved here, but have completely vanished only a few months or weeks later after meeting them.

New York City is all about speed. Instant results. Everything has to happen fast because we can’t waste a minute of our time. I’ve learned this due to the short-lived collapsed relationships that I’ve had.

I’ve also learned that jumping too quick into anything never yields long-lasting results.

It’s true that every second of every minute of every hour counts. Making it last, however, now that’s a whole different story.

On this long, long first day of Summer, I wonder where I’ll end up or meet.

Renaissance [Wo]man?

This is an extension off of my last blog entry (which I would hardly call an entry at all)

I’m a firm believer in the idea that the key to happiness is balance. All parts of your life must be balanced in order for you to feel at peace. I’ve mentioned in a past entry that it is imperative to have everything in moderation; I was referring to food when I wrote that though, but either way, it can be said for all things in life.

Anyways, in terms of balance, I’d say that I do a decent job at keeping the various parts of my life in check. I recognize when I am feeling too overwhelmed with one particular thing, therefore I take my mind off of it and focus on something else- or just take a break.

The thing that I often wonder though is this:

In order to be extraordinary at one particular skill, job, sport, etc, don’t you have to somewhat throw balance out of the window?

I’m sure that Steve Jobs didn’t keep balance in mind when he was striving to build the powerhouse brand that we have come to know as Apple. I’d probably know the certainty of this statement if I had actually read his biography, but from what I hear, he was a bit of a nutcase (in a good way though)

I think and write a lot about sacrifice. Pardon me if I often repeat myself and sound like a broken record in my entries, by the way.

Sacrifice is necessary to achieve greatness. A great novelist spends hours among hours of his day on perfecting his words, the structure of his sentences, the flow of his stories. Even then so, it’s never perfect until it’s perfect.

This leads me to my next point:

Mediocrity.

That word. That taunting word. It just screams, “Hey, you’re not that good!”

It’s something I fear, something I’ve always feared ever being or becoming because really, who wants to be average?

Would it sound horrible if I said, I do?

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I don’t necessarily want to be average or “mediocre”

I’m just very content and confident in the person that I am right now along with the things that I have accomplished. Of course, I’m not done living. I still have yet to accomplish many more things that I want to do in my life, but I know that it will happen over time.

I started this blog to become more serious about writing and it has honestly helped. I get very excited at the ability to publish my thoughts whenever they come to me. I know that I can just do that with my notebook, but I care about feedback and I hope that people genuinely enjoy reading what I have to contribute to the world.

Here’s where it ties together:

I’d say that I’m an intelligent individual. I have a strong set of skills, I’m motivated, hard-working, and I strive to succeed.

I don’t concentrate on just one thing though. I allocate my time accordingly so that I can spend time on multiple things

I dedicate some time to running, some time to writing, some time to my friends, and the rest of the 40+ hours goes to my actual job, which in turn, contributes to the future of my career.

Ultimately, my point is this:

Is it really a bad thing to be just good at something.

It’s an anomaly really- the things I want.

I want to be a great writer. I want to be a great runner. I want to be a great something.

In order to do this though, I have to throw balance out of the window and kind of put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. But where do I find the time?

To sum up this post (because I have to tie this to my title, for my own peace of mind), the definition of a “Renaissance Man”, according to Merriam-Webster is this:

Definition of RENAISSANCE MAN

: a person who has wide interests and is expert in several areas

Right now, I think I can deal with that. I may still want to add a few things to those “wide interests” though.

Factors

As suspected, I’m doing quite a horrendous job at keeping up with my goal of writing a blog entry every day. I was a bit over-ambitious when I conjured that up, but my intentions were there. It’s safe to say, it’s quite easy to veer off track when there’s so much to do and so little time. I clearly need to prioritize my time better when it comes to writing. That being said, I’d like to ask the question, “Can you do it all?”

Time management has always been a skill that I’ve been slowly, but surely improving on from high school up until present day. I like to put a lot on my plate, to the point where things are about to spill off the edges. Fortunately though, I always find a way to contain everything from overflowing.

In high school, sports defined me. I defined myself through my accomplishments in how far I’ve come after hours of hard work and practice. Naturally, running was a perfect way to define myself in that aspect. With running, you reap what you sow- or in simpler terms, you get out of it what you put in. This, of course, can apply to an endless amount of scenarios and situations. It’s a motto for life. But let’s get back to running.

I’d say that I’m a talented athlete. I’m good, definitely not spectacular and definitely not graced with the X-factor to become an Olympic athlete. But I’ve come about as close to “spectacular” in my own definitions of myself due to the dedication that I’ve given to the sport. After high school, the dedication fizzled out because I wanted to experience college on my own time, by my own rules. I couldn’t stay away though.

I continued to sign up for various 5Ks throughout college- about one per season just to make myself feel better and to keep the spark alive. However, I wasn’t fully committed. As stated before, time management became an essential skill for me. Between juggling academics, a social life, fitness, mental health, etc., running wasn’t at the top of my list. But I couldn’t stay away.

I yearned for the thrill of competing and I missed the feeling of training for a race.

You really have to sacrifice your body, your mind, your time, your energy, your life when it comes to seriously training for a race. Even the slightest factors can make the difference in shaving off minutes.

When I first signed up for the Big Sur International Marathon, I was just excited to say that I was even running it. I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t care about time or if I skipped a run here and there. But as time is getting closer and I’m getting deeper into training, I’m beginning to realize how much this race actually means to me.

Factors play a significant role in running and in life. The decisions that we make day to day create a path for how the rest or our day, week, month, year, and so on turns out. You can choose to go out for a run, you can choose to eat something that you know is bad for you, you can choose to hate instead of love. Whatever your decision may be in life, think about how it will make you feel afterwards.

In closing, I found a random quote which I thought applied to this random collection of thoughts that I’m publishing here. Here it is:

“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us”

Two-a-days

Internally, I immediately set a goal for myself that once I started this blog, I would frequently maintain it and publish content which is (hopefully) appealing to my audience. My identified goal is to write at least one post every day. I’m not exactly sure how dedicated I will be towards accomplishing this goal though. It’s difficult to constantly come up with new material. I can see how frustrating it must be for professional novelists, songwriters, poets, etc. who have made a living out of writing. I admire it though. It takes a lot of dedication. As I’m getting older, I’m understanding more and more how valuable my time is.

Now getting back to the point that I was actually trying to make; I felt the need to write something again tonight even though I have already technically accomplished my goal of writing a post for this day- Thursday, February 28th, 2013. I don’t fully consider my first post as being published today though.

For all intensive purposes, let’s consider today as my two-a-day writing day. For those of you who have not heard of the term “two-a-day”, it’s typically used in sport terms when referring to having practice twice in one day. My cross country coach in high school trained us to get used to these type of work outs whenever we needed to get our mileage in, but didn’t have enough time to get the distance completed in one shot.

I’ve started utilizing this two-a-day routine for my marathon training for Big Sur. I got sick several times this month due to the inconsistent weather along with my overall poor judgement in clothing choice when going for my long runs (Not wearing a hat or earmuffs in extremely cold, windy weather)

These two-a-day routines have helped me catch up and get back on track with my mileage. It also relieves the pressure of being on time crunch when working out after work.

Similarly to my two-a-day work outs, I’m going to try to make the same routing with writing; Not necessarily posting on my blog twice in one day, but at least getting a post in as well as an additional writing exercise such as practicing songwriting, or just writing down any immediate thoughts that pop up in my head. I feel that this will make me a stronger writer the same way that running twice in one day has made me a stronger runner.

You know what they say, ‘Practice makes perfect’

In a lot of ways, writing and running go hand in hand, which is why I feel that a lot of runners enjoy blogging. As mentioned in my previous post, I need some form of expression or means of venting. If I can’t write it down, I can at least run it out.

Fortunately, I was able to get a nice 3-mile run in after work, and now I have managed to post in this blog twice today. I seem to be on the right track. Hopefully, I can keep this up.