There comes a point in the year when goal setting loses it’s umph, especially if you are missing some accountability. Need to feel inspired? Get thyself to a running path. Here’s why…
With the kids in YMCA childcare this morning, I got the chance to hit up one of my favorite trails in Austin, a path that stretches along either side of Lady Bird Lake right through the heart of downtown. I was alone without the weight of that pesky double stroller. With my headphones dangerously loud in my ears I set out for some serious introverting. At 9:00 on a Thursday morning I was shocked to see it was packed. Doesn’t anybody work anymore?
I'm easily intimidated by running with others in a race. I don’t like competition and I try so hard to tune everyone out. But this morning, on that path, instead of competition and anxiety, there was only comradery. With a few miles left in me that morning, a lesson began to take shape. I stumbled upon this sign. Live a Great Story, it told me. That's what we had in common, I thought. Without knowing their stories, it was obvious we had all arrived that morning with a simple goal in mind. We were their to live a great story.
She was the girl trying for her first marathon.
He was the dad attempting a couch to 5K.
They were the empty nester friends reacquainting with one another now that their schedules are quiet.
The new mom pushing that beast of a jogging stroller with an even greater beast of a car seat attached because it’s the only way the baby will sleep and she needs more sunlight and fresh air.
The guy trying just a little too hard to impress with his mega speed.
The elderly couple walking in silence and at their own pace but still together.
The aging man strolling along and trying to make the kids laugh in their stroller seats.
The young couple so obviously new in love, slow, hand in hand, spilling their life stories.
The mom passing out snacks and picking up dropped paci’s just trying to fit in one more mile before the meltdown.
The girl pushing so hard to keep that pace she set out for herself with a level of doubt behind each step if she will really achieve that goal. (Raising hand for that one.)
Each person took to that path today with a different goal in mind. Each person showed up with different levels of enthusiasm. But in the end, each person was trying. Trying to run a little faster, walk another mile, breath in some fresh air, connect with a friend, smile at a stranger, feel alive and in love. Trying to make this year or this day better than the last.
If you get the chance to make eye contact, to smile, nod, or maybe lift a hand, you can sense the communion. Our starting lines are in different places. Our stride and pace is off. And our finishes arrive at various times. Yet still, in this moment, on this cloudy morning, or rainy afternoon or last rays of the evening sun, we are all the same. We’re all just out here trying to take one more step than we took before. And hopefully granting a little grace and praise along the way.
Today as I pushed myself to complete those last reluctant miles, I could feel the doubt push away a little bit too. We all have goals. And we don’t have to push through these goals alone.
Maybe you’re not a runner. Maybe none of your goals are about marathons or pounds lost. Maybe your dreams have nothing to do with the jogging trail. I might suggest you go find one anyway. While you jog or walk or maybe even just sit on a bench, watch the faces and smile at them. Because it is here that you will find the spirit of people trying just one more day to live their greatest story. And don’t you want to surround yourself with people who are giving it a try? Who are making their dreams a priority at least for today? I know I do.
Don’t have a jogging trail near you? Then maybe that’s your next big project. Go to your city council and suggest one be put in. Take the lead. Be the change you seek.
And get thyself to a running trail.