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Just keep running...

Last weekend I ran the AllState Hot Chocolate 5K along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in my Philadelphia neighborhood. I run more than a few of these a year, and so this was no different as I readied my headphones and prepared for the stretch. This time, I decided to spend the run reflecting on my progress and goals for the year. I figured a brisk run—with some music jamming in the background—would make for a productive and relatively focused context for this type of reflection or meditation. As I ran, I realized that many of my ambitions are tentative. As I reflected further, I realized that this work-in-progress perspective has undergirded much of my professional trajectory. On the surface, I wondered if this was a result of some deficit or lack of productivity. In other words, perhaps I never feel complete because I’m not ever accomplishing much and am essentially running to nowhere as if I were some metaphorical hamster on a wheel. The thought of treading vigorously toward nowhere was disturbing. Could it be that my efforts no matter how exhaustive have been in vain having yet to reach a final milestone? In almost the same moment, it dawned on me that—in fact—this feeling of incompleteness or tentativeness in regard to my professional aspirations may in fact simply be the result of an insatiable and, perhaps, intrinsic desire to stride onward and upward. Perhaps, the goal isn’t to finish the race of some finite professionally accomplishment, but instead to engage the terrain of each new trajectory as if it were my first and in that way, continue to grow, stronger. Perhaps my purview in the early part of my reflection was not broad enough and, in fact, each journey has provided the necessary experiences to prepare me for the next. That made more sense. It also provided a more constructive frame within which to understand my trajectory. Alas, the run was over and while my understandings are still incomplete, at least I have a starting place. I need more time to work things out I guess. I sense a 15K in the horizon.

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