Friday, January 28, 2011
Turn and face the strange
I’ve been thinking a lot about changes lately. How we change as we grow, grow as we change, all of that. How the decisions we make, even though we think they might be small, can prove to have profound effects in so many aspects of our lives – right down to the core of who we are.
There have been many interesting discussions with friends and loved ones over whether people ever really change. I’m still not sure. I don’t know if I’ve changed. But I know I’ve made changes.
The decision to lace up some running shoes and head out the door for the first time was life changing. It altered the way I dealt with stress and hard times, the tone and shape of my body, my self-image and my perceptions. Before I became a runner, separating my impulses from my emotions was tricky. Controlling either of those things was problematic on my best days.
My default was set to erratic.
I feel now, almost four years after I first logged a run, more balanced, more relaxed and just more together. I’m more equipped to handle things that come my way. Certainly, a lot of that is gained just through experiences and getting older. But having an outlet… having a means to cope with things that not long ago would have been too much to cope with, is absolutely crucial to that.
Are we, as we grow up, capable of changing who we once were? If we work hard and actively fight against some of our worst instincts can we set ourselves to a new default? Have new instincts?
In many respects, I feel that the core of my being is unchanged, but through the choices I’ve made many of those aspects of myself are unrecognizable to me today.
I’ve worked hard to make good choices and positive changes in my life. Seeing the results of those choices has been a source of a lot of pride for me. The physical changes manifest themselves in my running and my general health. Looking back at the numbers recently, I realized after running that Manhattan Half Marathon this past weekend, I ran it 41 minutes faster than I had the first time I did it three years ago. I hope to improve my time even more.
In other areas, well, I just feel like I’m a better person than I was a few years ago. It’s impossible to say how much of that is due to what factors, but I’m certain that so much of the good things that have come into my life would not be there if I couldn’t look in the mirror and call myself a runner.
♫ Time may change me
But I can't trace time. ♫