I ran a 5k this weekend. It wasn’t just any old 5k. This 5k was inside a limestone mine! It isn’t a working mine, but it is use for storage. (It was very structurally sound. No worries there.) I actually got a PR (personal record, meaning I ran my fastest time ever.) 24 minutes, 44 seconds. But that’s not why I’m writing about it.
The course began in a huge cement room echoing with lots of noise from 530+ people. A garage door opened and we started running into a narrower, more dimly-lit hallway with limestone-looking walls and ceilings. The course started changing elevation and we started descending down into the mine. The lighting changed to sporadic bulbs and the floor quickly turned to gravel. It got chilly. (I soon regretted my last-minute choice to shed my outer layer and run in a tank top and shorts and would’ve gladly accepted a pair of gloves!)
Anyway, as we snaked through the mine’s cavern and past various boats and RVs stored there, the walls were open, save a few sizable limestone pillars holding up the mine’s ceiling. As I ran, through the open walls, I could see fellow runners ahead or behind. Seeing these other runners ahead or behind served as a great analogy for me.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could go back to a different point in your life? Conversely, have you ever wanted to fast forward your life so you could reach a different life stage right now? Obviously, I would never trade my current life (my husband & boys) but sometimes I wonder if I could go back in time, knowing what I know now, could I have a more meaningful presence in my high school? Could I have been kinder, harder working, not have quit band, learned more?
If I could go back to my college years, could I have chosen a different school? A different major? Different activities? Been a better tennis player? Would any of these things make me a better person? Give me a better life?
Now, I never struggle with having a toddler. (Heavy sarcasm.) Actually, I’ve been struggling for a few weeks with my two year old…I think he’s going through a difficult stage since his little brother garners much of the attention. In fact, I am COMPLETELY tired of my two-year old demanding things from me all day long (despite being hard at work all day long on developing manners).
I have heard some moms say they can’t wait until their baby can talk. Or walk. Or crawl. Or their kid goes to pre-school. Or kindergarten. Yet, there are tons of other moms with grown kids who come up to me in the grocery store or the library and tell me they wish they could go back to when their kids were young!
So what is the point to all of this? Running through the mine, I thought about how I can’t skip ahead in the race to meet up with the people ahead of me. I can’t fast-forward my life to skip potty training my kiddos. I can’t rewind my life to pick a new major in college, a different prom date, or enjoy and benefit my mom cooking and cleaning up the kitchen every night (that I vastly under appreciated at the time. Thanks, mom. It’s a lot of work.)
All I can do is run hard. Now. As well as I can. Because life goes fast. It’s ok to look at the other people running ahead or behind. But if I wish I were at a different point in the race, I’ll lose focus on where I am now. And if I lose focus, I might become distracted, or worse, dismayed, at how I performed during a past part of my race. I’m not saying it’s never ok to reflect. But the only thing I can control is how I spend my time today.
So, how are you spending your time? In a month, a year, a decade, if you reflect on this part of your life, will you be satisfied that you ran well?