This past week has been a strange one. After running my first 100 miler, the Vermont 100, I had to deal with my scary feet -- covered with blisters, swollen. I took off work to visit my podiatrist ("I love having such interesting patients." Um, thanks.), and have been spending the rest of the time Not Running. Life has always been full of sparkles when I'm running, and when I'm Not Running, I'm plotting my next run. My doctor told me I had tendinitis -- I think it's minor, but there's been aching in my ankle on and off for a while -- and I'm not running for another week. It's torture, this Not Running. Walking on the beach yesterday, I yearned to be running. I went to the suburbs to visit my mom, I loved the green everywhere -- green trees, lawns, the space, the clean air. I guess that visit and all the time spent Not Running is what triggered this thought pattern below.
I saw my childhood next-door neighbor with her cute 9-month-old baby, my married sister and her husband (It's very weird - they refer to each other as "husband" and "wife" all the time -- they just got married last October so maybe it's still the new exciting thing?), I saw the garages and the lined-up tulips and the straight-up career trajectories and the bicycling kids and my past and thought, "Did I fuck up my future?" Have I been thinking wrong all along? I didn't take the path I was taught to.
I went from college to working for a bit at a nonprofit to my MFA in Writing to my MLS to traveling to working a job...I'm living in Brooklyn in a neighborhood I can no longer afford, and I'm watching my savings slowly dwindle while I work at a nonprofit for the greater good...I'm in an unstable relationship that will probably blow up any minute, especially since he is probably moving away -- and this is a relationship of way too long for me to not know where it is going. It scares me -- I never thought I'd be on this path of I don't know where I'm going. I'm all for Robert Frost and opting for the road less travelled, but I think I'm more or less bushwhacking right now. I don't see the path. I'm covered with cuts, scrapes and bruises. (For the ultrarunners out there, I feel like I'm attempting Barkley.) I'm thinking about the immediate -- drinking from this stream for my thirst, eating some blueberries for my hunger, running for my passion, a pause for rest -- but I don't know if this bushwhacked trail will ever end up on a real trail? Will I arrive at a destination? Is life not about the destination but the journey? But what if the journey is confusing and painful and seemingly pointless and hard?
I'm trying not to let my tears blur my view for the vision of the future; I'm picking out fabrics for dresses to sew, races to run, plane tickets to see family, logisitics for Burning Man, sewing wings for parties. It's painful, it's complicated, it's confusing, it's not easy, it's not what I pictured, but I think I'll roll with it. I'll try to smile, I'll dance in the subway, I'll laugh on a run, I'll call my mother back, I'll eat too many sweets, I'll douse my body with cold water when it's hot...I'll remember that life is good and try not to cry too much -- but also to remember it's great to cry when I'm happy.