It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It feels like that is almost never not true. Life is a process. No matter how much I want things how I want them, when I want them, the universe seems to always have its own plan. Slowly, step by step, things fall into place and start to take shape in a form that I never could have imagined for myself. So many of the most wonderful things in my life serve as a daily reminder of the fact that I am not running the show.
Case in point: When I was 25 and finally getting my act together, I was determined to move back to Chicago–I went to school there and it had always been my favorite city. I was sure that the Windy City was home. My car had finally died completely and it seemed like I was at some sort of turning point–that fear of staying in the same place was growing larger than the fear of venturing out into the unknown.
It was Thanksgiving, 2009. My sister and I settled into the most lovely chairs at our hometown’s Barnes & Noble. We had coffees and stacks of magazines and were easing into a most relaxing afternoon. A few pages into a Marie Claire I sighed and looked up at her. “What am I going to do with my life?” I play demanded she tell me at once. With an almost mischievous smile she started, “The apartment next door to me might be available to rent for really cheap, it is just a tiny one room place…you could move to New York!”
January 4, 2010…I landed at LaGuardia with Empire State of Mind blaring on my iPod. I had been to New York city a few times and had never liked it–for the same reasons all Chicago people say they don’t like it. It was too dirty, too crowded, too loud. I moved anyway. So much was unknown, but the opportunity was too big to pass up. I had felt like a mouse with a choice between 2 mazes. One was a straight shot to the other side and brightly lit–I could see the small slice of mild cheddar waiting for me on the other side. The other had so many twists and turns, bright spots and shadows, I couldn’t be sure what was waiting for me at the end. In fact I couldn’t even be sure there was an end.
Seven years later. Things do not look anything like I would have imagined. The dirty, crowded, loud city has been established as one of the great loves of my life. I also met the love of my life–a bald guy from Queens. The universe has done quite right by me. And so, I am trying to let it continue. I am trying to stay on the long unknown journey and not sprint off to nibble on the crappy cheese. I know I can live off that cheese, I’ll just never be excited for dinner.
About a week ago, my name was one of about 16,000 to get pulled out of a pool of about 98,000 to run the 2017 New York City Marathon.
It has been a dream of mine to run a marathon ever since I was 16 years old–ever since I started running tedious laps around the 1/10 mile track at the university gym my family belonged to.
I have run a few half marathons, but fear and injuries have always managed to keep me from the full enchilada. This year didn’t seem like the right year either. I am slowly trying to make the uncomfortable moves necessary for a change in career. There might be a drastic drop in my income. My knees are still sore every once in a while. I definitely can’t see straight through the maze.
Since that old uncomfortable feeling has returned–the one where I can’t predict and prepare for every obstacle and ensure a smooth sail, I am pretty sure I am on the right track. As soon as I saw my credit card get charged and knew I was in the race, a simultaneous sense of peace and excitement came over me. The universe seems to think I can at least make it to the starting line; that confidence makes me feel pretty good.
I am hoping I can stick to documenting the process here. I think it will be something I’ll want to remember. I also hope it will be worth sharing. I am constantly inspired by people who don’t give up on their dreams, no matter how long they take. Crossing my fingers I can be another example of that. Stay tuned.