I learned an important lesson as I was running through the icy streets yesterday. I realized that If I think about how much fartherI have to go until the end or even visualize a hill that I will be be ascending a few streets away then my run becomes very difficult. I become tired and weak, my legs feel heavy and, I begin to think that I won’t make it through the whole route. If, on the other hand, I concentrate on how my legs feel with each footfall and how pleasant the cool air is against my face, or how much I love the song that is reverberating in my ears, then I feel invincible ; like I could run all day.
It is the difference between living for the future, or living in the moment. Even though I know where my run will take me and even though I know that I have the ability to change directions at any time, the thought of what lies ahead and my possible inablity to deal with it saps my energy before I have even given myself the chance to run 5 miles. When I enjoy each minute of running and am truly thankful for the strength to be able to do it, I am light and energetic.
Living in the moment has become such a catch-phrase these days, bordering on cliche. Everyone knows that they should do it, but in this life,fraught with difficulties, it is far easier said than done. I know that I have spent most of my motherhood half-listening or half-playing with my kids for years. I may be with them physically, playing cards or baseball,but my mind wanders, worrying about bills or my health or what I am going to make for dinner. And make no mistake, my kids notice : “Mom, you didn’t even hear what I said!” gets uttered quite often around here and it isn’t just because I am losing my hearing.
So I decided yesterday, as I weaved in and out of snowbanks, feeling the sun on my back, and being grateful for my continued ability to lace up my sneakers and hit the pavement, that I would vow to try to live my life the same way that I take my runs. I am going to treat my time alone with my family and friends like I do my runs. I will not think about what lies ahead; only what lies right in front of me. Because when I start to do that, then a game of cribbage with my son, an hour long talk with an old friend that I have missed, a cup of tea with a neighbor or a walk in the woods– will all leave me feeling as refreshed and satisfied as I feel after a long jog. And that’s about as good as it gets.