Writing the miles

I am a runner. There is something compelling about moving under your own power. Not that I find it easy. I’m terribly slow and I suspect I look like I’m in pain despite my protestations to the opposite. I breathe like an obscene caller and sweat buckets, although my husband says that when it comes to sweat, I’m an amateur. Those of you who know my husband know that compared to him, most us look like novices no matter what the category.

My neighborhood is a good place to run, and there are a few routes that I like depending upon how many miles I want to put in based on the heat, how my knee is feeling, how much wine I had the night before. Most of my longer paths include a loop on Pensive Lane–downhill on the way out, uphill on the way back. At the top of the hill is a white mailbox.

When I reach that hill, at a minimum, I’ve already run a couple of miles. The only way to get home is to get my tired butt up that grade. It’s not steep, but it is long. Long enough that the while mailbox is lit up by the sun, like a  beacon. I fix my gaze on that mailbox, and push forward, knowing that when I get there…

I have at least another mile to go.

I know this. The distance from that mailbox to my house hasn’t changed once, no matter how fervently I’ve wished it would.   I can’t slow down, I can’t let up, and I can only celebrate for a moment, because I’m not done.

I had two pieces accepted for publication this week. Needless to say, I’m thrilled. I set a goal out there, and I’m getting closer to that mailbox every day. It’s bright and shiny and it’s calling to me, and I’m putting one foot after another until I get there. But I know that when I do, I still have a ways to go before I’m done running. And just like my running, once the path I’ve set gets too easy, if it doesn’t push me hard enough, I’ll have to find a harder one.

But when I do finally reach home, I feel at peace, yet energized at the same time. Ready to take on the day. Ready to climb the hill again tomorrow. So I’ll take  a moment and celebrate but no more, because I’m not done. I have a least another mile to run.
Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by mtsofan © 2008 Creative Commons

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9 comments on “Writing the miles

  1. mliddle says:

    Jeannine –
    What a great way to use running as a metaphor for you setting personal writing/publishing goals. Life is like this in every way. We set one goal for ourselves, but when we achieve that goal & appreciate our accomplishments, such as getting into college, graduate school, that first job, promotion, that first mile, workout, helping our child with that first bike ride (only to let her bike down the road when she’s older), ANYTHING – we move on to the next goal. I don’t think that the goal is for just achieving goals in themselves. Rather, we create those next goals so we can grow as individuals, as family members & part of a community. In life, there is no end of the road, rather we slow down but keep going.
    I used to run when my body was healthier. I remember being almost done, seeing the driveway, but not quite there yet. I felt drained being so close yet not close enough. So everytime I passed a house, I used to pretend it was a crowd cheering me on. This helped me put a bit more spring in my step until I reached my driveway. I think in life, too, we need incentives and our personal cheering section to reach some of those difficult goals. They help us to kick it in at the end and then later, move onto our next goal.

    Monique

    • Thanks Monique. I’m sort of a goal junkie. I need to remind myself that they are milestones, not ends unto themselves, while still appreciating and celebrating what is, not what will be. If they ever paint that mailbox, I’m in trouble.

  2. Just as Monique said: a wonderful metaphor. And a very bright and refreshing blog post!

  3. Veronica Roth says:

    Admiration! Not only for the first use of mailbox but also for the second. I’m absolutely naff at setting and keeping goals. (worse at the latter) I’m so hoping for a book of the momaikus because that would be the perfect gift for tons of my friends. Keep using that mailbox! 🙂

    • The book is on the mailbox list. I want to get the next draft of the novel finished, then I will start structuring and compiling. I’m glad I can count on you for multiple copies! Thank you for your support – I look forward to your comments. 🙂

  4. hiyacynthia says:

    Congratulations on the publications! I can’t imagine running miles (plural). My trail is about a mile and a quarter, but is rough terrain and up and down hills in spots and I can walk it with just a bit of running thrown in if I feel like it. I’m always in awe when people say they ran 8 miles or whatever – it sounds impossible to me! Good for you for going the distance – in all things ;0)

  5. Nice, Jeannine! I especially like acknowledging that reaching one goal isn’t the end. It might be a good resting place; but it’s truly just another milestone on the journey. Congratulations on the publications – they, too, are milestones and worthy of celebration. Sweat and all.

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