Monday, January 23, 2012

It's a Marathon, not a Sprint

I was born early.

How early depends on whose due date you go by. If you go by the doctor's due date I was over a month early. If you go by the time frame my mom believed I would arrive, I was about two weeks early. Nonetheless, I was early.

I mention this only because I believe it explains a lot of who I was up until recently. When I look back, I seem to have always wanted things to happen when I wanted them to happen -- patience was not my strong suit.

However, life has always had a different plan for me. I walked late. I talked late (though I have been making up for this ever since I started). And, there is a whole long list of other things I've done later than my peers. Life has always known...

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

When I began to consider law school (this time around) I kept doing the math of how old I would be based upon a given start date, i.e. "If I start law school in (fill in the year) then I would potentially be sworn in to practice law when I was (fill in age)." I cringed! I didn't like the number I saw. It got me kicking myself for waiting so long. Especially "wasting" the past couple of years. I started thinking about a lot of things I should of done different.

(Let me just say here, I do not promote this type of thinking ... it is dangerous.)

A month ago I was talking to a former coworker of mine about this. I was visiting the office and we were catching up on what was going in our lives. I explained that I was just weeks away from taking the LSAT, again, and all the jazz that has gone into the exploration of law school this past year. That's when I found out about her stint in law school. (Now I've known this person for sometime, but I never knew they went to law school.)

They explained to me that when they were taking the LSAT and considering law school they did the same thing I did - calculate how old they were going to be when they could FINALLY practice law; and, like me, they freaked out when they saw the number. That's when her sister said, "Well, you're gonna be that age one day anyhow, with or without the JD, so what difference does it make?"

I had previously heard various forms of those words (S I have not forget the many times you've reminded me of this), but for some reason on that day, at that moment, they finally sunk in. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I've become ok with the idea that law school may in fact not be in my future, or maybe I'm just tired from operating at full-force like I did last year. Whatever the reason may be, from that moment on I have not done any math calculations of that sort and I have retreated to a place where no matter what happens next it will in fact be ok.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

There are plenty of other examples I can pull from my life that make the same point.

When I look back on some of the mistakes I've made in the past, I see a common wrong turn I have made many times over. I let my eagerness to get what I want get in the way of taking a time I need to get to where I'm going (or want to go).

Don't get me wrong, there were some things that it's ok to acquire quickly, patience is good, but one can't wait for EVERYTHING. However, with that in mind, I ask myself often, "Who the hell was I to think after a mere two and a half years I had earned a manager's position when I still had SO much more to learn?"

(Hindsight is a beautiful thing -- isn't it?!)

Yes, I'm talking about a career situation that keeps blaring out at me, but it seems to represent a lot of other situations from the past that were similar. It's good to be confident in your abilities, but it's smart to know when you have really have earned the right to make certain demands. I blame this particular situation mainly on youth and some outside influences; then I chalk it up as a learning experience.

Now a days, I brag when warranted, but I stay modest as well. I know what I rock at and am happy to share that with others when necessary, but at the same time I manage not to get a large head and think that I can do more than I am really capable of. I also make plans of action when I want to go after something I know I'd be great at, but just don't have the tools to be the rock star that I am quite yet.

I practice... and practice... and practice some more. I never forget, nor stop believing, that my hard work will one day pay off. (At least that is what I try to remind myself after a crappy run, or if I don't see improvement in my runs.)

I like to think of this "practice" as creating opportunities. There are a lot of interesting things I will be doing in this year. Some of them are things I've decided to do, while others are opportunities that have been presented to me. I like to believe I've earned this opportunities. I didn't always feel this way, but the past year has had a great influence on this shift of perspective.

I hope that others can learn from my mistakes; I surely have. I now look at each and ever thing I want out of life and ask myself is now really the time, or is this something that needs to develop a little bit more. As I get older, I like to think I'm more and more a-tuned to when things are right for me to move forward on and when they are not. I can say for sure, I know recognize more that ...

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.


I wrote this post on January 2nd.

Since I wrote this entry, I've become friends with someone who shares a lot of my life experiences. A Jew who went to a university based upon Christian principles for undergrad. An individual who is not only the youngest of all their sibling, but also has siblings old enough to be their parent. And, someone who discovered what they truly want to do career wise later in their life. (Ok, so I'm still somewhat in the process of doing this, but I'm sure you get the point!)

During some of our exchanges, Doc has talked about how sometimes though not greatly desired, we sometimes have to take a longer path to where we are going and it's important to enjoy the ride along the way. "Oh, the places you'll go!" (Thank you Dr. Suess.)

These words are nothing new to me, but I believe when you are in the thick of things it's difficult to take that much needed step back from everything and truly embrace this way of thinking. Even now as I live a life with this understanding, I still have times when I get annoyed and tried of the journey.

When I wrote this, I did not do so with the intent to post it specially today; however, as I was revisiting this post recently it felt right to do so.

My journey has been a long one -- or, at least it feels that way. I never expected it to take as long as it did to arrive at this destination. On the few occassions I get upset that it took so long, I wonder if I would have appreciated the payoff at the end of it as much as I now do. I'm guessing not.

Unlike before, I'm thankful for my journey. It isn't the way I wished to have gotten here, but I've learned a lot along the way. I've learned the things I needed to in order to move on to my next marathon. When I realize this, I am thankful because I know I am a better person for taking the time needed rather than trying to get ahead of myself and racing to the finish line.

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