Friday, November 04, 2011

The finish line

There was this amazing Storycorp interview on NPR this morning with lady who had a stroke while undergoing brain surgery a few years ago. As a result of the stroke, she has no short term memory to the point where she has to always have a notecard with her that reminds her of what date it is, where she lives and whether she's eaten lunch (a la Memento). That wasn't what was amazing about it, though. What was incredible is that she was so upbeat and laughing and when her boyfriend asked her if anything positive had come out of the whole thing, she told the story about how they had run the New York Marathon together. During the race, she made him promise not to let her look at any of the mile markers and instead whenever she asked, to tell her they'd only been running for ten or fifteen minutes. When she crossed the finish line, she had no idea how far she'd gone. And it hit me when she said that, that it was a pretty awesome way to go about things: Not to worry about where you've been or how much you've got ahead of you, just to concentrate on doing the best you can in that moment.  I don't know about you guys, but I don't do enough of that--I'm so busy trying to do things to reach these arbitrary goals I've set for myself (whether its work, financial or even whether my kid sits on the damned potty to poop), I don't ever remember to stop in the middle of it and just concentrate on being happy where I'm at, right now.

This is my child who until just recently was a toddler, but now all of a sudden looks like he's about to start first grade. I'm sure next week he's going to ask if he can have a motorcycle (and the answer to that is NOT A CHANCE). 

I guess it's pretty tempting to say that life goes by too fast and maybe it does. (though I have my doubts  because I'm pretty sure Thursday lasted about three weeks, and the show Wow Wow Wubbzy, which is supposed to be about 20 minutes long is like a &#*$ing ETERNITY.). I don't think it's that it's really going too fast, I think maybe we're all putting our heads down and barrelling through life right now which is so damned tempting to do, especially when you know the economy is the way it is and the news cycle cares more about some reality star's quickie divorce than impending collapse of the Greek government . Times like these, it seems like even if you DID stop and take time to look around and "enjoy the now", you wouldn't be enjoying it, you'd be like WTF???? OK, MOVING ON.  Then one day we wake up twenty years from now and say, "What just happened?"

But here's the thing I want you to do:  don't let me see the mile markers. If I ask, tell me I've only been running ten or fifteen minutes. And when we cross the finish line, it's going to be pretty damn awesome.

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