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I stare at the television, hardly paying attention to the cards in my hand. Are we playing Hold ‘Em? Guts? I’m not too sure. The TV is tuned to the Classic Rock Music channel. On the screen is a picture of David Gilmour from the band Pink Floyd. I listen to his music and think, “I could have been musician.”
But I’m not.
I started to think of all the things I wanted to be, but am not. Doctor. Actor. Master of the Universe. Trainer and gym owner. I am none of those things. When the roadblocks of life got in the way, I never pushed back hard enough to achieve those goals. I made the excuse that if I wasn’t pushing, I obviously didn’t want it. Now, at the age of 41, I wonder, “what if?”
I know that the “what if” game is a common one, especially for people my age and older, but it feels like mine goes a little deeper than that. I look back and realize that I let opportunity go by so many times – in college, after college. There were moments where I could have (should have?) zigged, but instead I zagged – more often than not because it was the path of least resistance. Life (my life) is full of opportunities lost, chances not taken, changes not made.
I hope I have been a good son, an adequate husband and a decent father, but I wonder if they could have had better.
I wonder if that is one of the reasons I run like I do.
In running I finally found something that when I got pushed (through injury or bonking), I found a way to push back. I was able to take adversity and knock it on its ass. Still, I can’t help but wonder if running has become a last-ditch effort to validate myself – to convince myself that the boy that I was would be okay with , if not proud of, the man I have become.
No, I will never be an elite runner, I will never qualify for the Olympic trials, I will never get financially rich off of running, but hard work and perseverance has made me a marathoner and a Boston Qualifier. The results have been tangible. In qualifying for Boston, I have, in the eyes of some, made it to the promised land.
As I try to figure out what it is that I will become when I grow up (yes, I know I’m 41), I will hold on to this buoy, training my eyes on the horizon. I hope that the next time opportunity sails close by, I have the wisdom to see it and the courage to hop on board.