Life is the journey
How disappointment over a half marathon resulted in a greater appreciation of the journey, not the destination. By Lisa Lohmann
When I signed up for my first half marathon, I felt stirred with excitement. I was fully convinced, this was going to be my year! I had a clear, vivid image in my head of me at the finish line, celebrating an achievement that had for so long seemed out of my reach. Driven with motivation and new expensive running shoes, I was ready to tackle this new challenge.
So I ran.
And ran some more.
It was only on the brink of one of my long Sunday runs, a great 15k, when I felt the pain in my leg. And with the pain growing, so did my disappointment. A rest day turned into a rest week and into various rest months.
In the end, I was not able to realise my dream of my first half marathon this year. What I did realise though, was something much more important:
I was too focused on the goal that I had ignored the journey towards it.
When we get on a train, we are usually aiming to reach a final destination. Immersed in the news or the new Netflix series, we don’t pay attention to the fact that we are actually in constant movement. Outside the train, the world is presenting us with ever-changing landscapes and different weather scenarios. And at every stop, passengers are getting off and new ones on.
Imagine we were a passenger on our train of life. Whilst we travel through time, we all have various stops we want to reach along the way.
Hitting that dream body, achieving that pay rise or attracting that perfect partner.
Once a goal is fixed in our minds, we have entered into a mental train journey. Ideally, we want to get on it and get off again when we have arrived. But with the eyes focused solely on the outcome, we work late hours doing jobs that leave us feeling empty and force ourselves to do workouts we really don’t enjoy. Of course we start to believe that arriving at our destination will finally end the suffering we put ourselves through.
Like myself with the half marathon, we sometimes get so absorbed in reaching our final destination that we become ignorant to what is happening on the journey. We even shut our eyes to the fact that it is out of our control if we ever arrive at our end goal.
So what would happen if we looked up from our daily distractions and actively participated in this journey of constant movement? Maybe we would be able to observe the interesting variety of people that come into or leave our train of life. Some stay for longer, whereas some leave at the very first stop. Outside, beautiful places flow by, carrying us from sunrise to sunset. Like the crisp fields and distant trees, thoughts and emotions vanish as fluently as they have appeared. While the wheels of our lives continue to spin, moment after moment beautiful experiences happen, inviting us to learn and grow.
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” — Buddha
Hunched over our laptops and smartphones, we live in an age where movement has taken the back seat. In an age where our bodies are sitting, but our minds are running more than ever. I believe that if we changed our perspective on movement, we could not only enjoy our destinations but also the adventure that gets us there. And allow life to be our train, but us to be the conductor.