I saw a YouTube video the other day, creatively put together by Julie Nolke, of her January 2020 self getting a visit from her April 2020 self. Imagine for a minute that you could have that conversation with yourself but the future version was allowed to give advice but not allowed to say what is currently going on. Pretty interesting and funny video.
Given what we know today, our perspective on daily life…. our finances, jobs and health have all been radically upended. That was driven home to me in spades this week as I took on the 7-day Marathon Challenge. A year ago, I set a goal of completing the effort in less than 8 hours. At that time, after of year of working on getting back to running, I had only worked my way up to jogging a quarter to half mile before I had to stop and walk a while. Hills were my nemesis, getting me breathing like an old steam engine and making so much noise people would stop to ask if I was all right. One older woman walking her dog would cross the street when she saw me coming. She said I scared her dog. I think I actually scared her more. I had pretty much resigned myself to this being the best I could achieve and running again was a dream too far. If not for the fund raising for Help in the Nick of Time, I likely would have walked away from the effort.
Fast forward a year and life looks quite a bit different. Delivery of groceries is no longer a luxury, wearing a mask and gloves is no longer just for bank robbers, eating out is now eating in, and toilet paper has become as hard to locate as big foot (TP is so valuable that I heard one person had tipped his food delivery person with it). At an age when they grow leaps and bounds, I haven’t been able to spend time with my grandchildren in person in 3 months. A year ago I couldn’t imagine such a scenario. And of course, the most unbelievable event, the Boston Marathon was delayed for the first time in its 124-year history (actually it was replaced with a military marathon relay one year during WWI).
Despite the marathon delay I decided to go ahead with my 7 Day Marathon Challenge in the week leading up to the original planned date. Unlike last year I had set the bar a bit higher, planning to complete the challenge in under 6 hours (a goal that would have looked impossible a year ago). I’m happy to say that as of this morning I was able to achieve that goal. Unlike last year when I was jogging and walking, this year I was able to jog the entire distance in increments of 4.5-5.5 miles. If my 2020 person had appeared to my April 2019 person and told him a year from now this was possible, the reaction would have been total disbelief. Probably not much different than if someone told me then that the country/world would be shut-down this month.
When I am in the middle of challenging times, I find it hard to keep a long-term perspective. In our fast food, immediate satisfaction, instant google answers to everything, being patient and keeping perspective can be difficult. My walking/jogging/running is a great reminder for me that there will be good days and bad days and keeping a broader perspective, a longer-term view so to speak, can keep me from stressing out about where I am today.
Who knows where I’ll be when next year’s marathon challenge rolls around, and I’ve given up on trying to predict if I’ll ever achieve more than just jogging a few miles but those are worries for another day. Right now, my 2021 self has an optimistic perspective on where life will be a year from now.
Thanks to all of you who supported me through this last year.