I like to celebrate before I’ve actually done something successfully.
It’s nice to savour the moment of decision, plunging ahead into the unknown where you don’t know what the results will be. Of course, when I’m thrown into a project and scrambling to break through the waters for a quick breath, I don’t get that chance to celebrate. However, when the decision to do something rests in my hands…
I am going to run my first race tomorrow. I put that word in italics because truthfully, I won’t actually be racing against anyone. I just want to get to the finish line in one piece, and as long as I’m not the last person doing it, I’m happy.
I’ve been holding on to my white iPod nano (one of the most thoughtful gifts from Spike) and actually enjoy taking it with me while I run as I imagine my muscles working that little bit harder… but I thought that maybe, it was time to get another smaller one. It was almost perfect timing when DigiBoy called me from the Apple Shop in Houston.
I missed that call but he helped me one anyway, since he knew I’d been eyeing the latest stainless steel version. And so, today, I got my new baby.
Isn’t she a sparkling beauty?
Even better, I met Pale Beauty at an open mic event and she offered to pick me up early in the morning. We’ll set off at 5.45am (ack!) and hopefully, be at the start line 30 minutes before flag off, with ample time to warm up. I am going to head to bed early today to try for a full 7 hours of sleep.
I’m actually doing it. My first official run in… 17 years.
‘You don’t look like someone who runs!’ Trish, a makeup artist laughed when she heard about my plans for tomorrow. ‘A race for the best shopping maybe, but run? Why?’
‘Well… I thought it’d be nice to do something I’d never done before,’ I answered.
‘That’s a good reason,’ she nodded.
‘I walked yesterday!’ piped up the Designer.
‘Oh really? That’s great! Are you into exercise?’ I asked, looking at him as he set up the lights for our photo-shoot.
‘I used to be, until my body couldn’t take it anymore.’ He said. ‘It’s a miracle I’m walking today, that’s what the doctor said to me.’
‘What happened?’ I couldn’t imagine what type of sport he once did to warrant such extreme accidents.
‘I jumped out of a plane but my parachute wasn’t working well that day. I broke my spine and was told that I’d be crippled for life. Guess the doc was wrong,’ he smiled. ‘Before that, I also broke a couple of bones, twisted both ankles at least ten times each, tore more than five ligaments in various parts of my body… I guess I just get too excited when I do sports.’
‘How about swimming? That’s a low impact thing you could do…’ I suggested.
‘Ah… if there’s one thing I detest, it’s to get into the water,’ he wrinkled his nose, ‘so now, I walk.’
‘Let’s celebrate!’ I said.
‘I already did. I bought myself the iPad,’ he chuckled.
Baby steps after a fall.
Haruki Murakami was right. Pain is inevitable but suffering? It’s optional.
Pain comes in all forms, physical or emotional but whether we resign ourselves to a state of suffering, or we get up and walk on is another thing.
Doing this run tomorrow is monumental to me.
I signed up alone – and no longer fear being independent. I don’t need to wait for others till I make a decision, something that I used to do. I don’t need to fear failure, a bad trait I have as the perfectionist in me wants to only do things in which I know I’ll succeed. I may flail and flounder in an environment that’s unfamiliar but for once, I’m getting out of my comfort zone and reaching out for goals that I don’t need to conquer. This is a goal I just want to accomplish, for myself.
I got more disciplined in training for the run. In the past, I relied a lot on others to do the research and pull together plans while I lazily went along with them. This time, I actually got off my ass to make things happened. I went to the library, read a few books, bought a couple of magazines, subscribed to newsletters… all to familiarize myself with this thing called running. Oh yes, and I actually ran too.
The best part of it all? I made new friends. Friends who love running too. Friends who offer tips, advice and support. It’s a weird, wonderful feeling. My world has grown that little bit bigger.
And to think it all started with a question that Smiley asked me months ago…
‘I just signed up for the marathon in December. Are you going?’ He texted me.
‘Yeah, I think I will,’ I replied.
I immediately went to the website and for some strange reason, signed up for the half-marathon (I’m not that ambitious! Baby steps, remember?) and was subsequently hit by fear. ‘Oh my god, what have I done?’ I gasped at the laptop screen.
Since then, I signed up for an easier run (tomorrow’s) and have entered this new world that really, dear reader, is exquisite.
Amazing then, what putting one foot in front of the other can yield.
I am a runner, albeit a slow one.
But unashamedly so.
Something has changed within me, something is not the same. I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game. Too late for second-guessing, too late to go back to sleep. It’s time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap.
I’m through accepting limits coz someone says they’re so. Some things I cannot change but till I try, I’ll never know…
So if you care to find me, look to the western sky. As someone told me lately, ‘Everyone deserves the chance to fly’. And if I’m flying solo, at least I’m flying free. To those who’d ground me, take a message back from me. Tell them how I am defying gravity, I’m flying high…
– Defying Gravity (from Wicked, the musical)