Because, why not?
Morning runs are when I usually take an hour to reflect on whatever it is that’s going on in my life, whether it’s work, relationships, upcoming races, brilliant inventions that will surely buy me a Hamptons house by 30 or recipes that exceed anything Martha Stewart could dream of. On Tuesday, yesterday, as I laced up and headed out, I was thinking of neither food nor finances; instead, I was forcibly—if not, somewhat thankfully—thinking about hope.
Naturally, this single word evokes an ocean of thought, and over the course of my ritual morning run, “hope” evolved from mantra to Nobel Prize winning novel to an esoteric word I could no longer define with clarity. Like many of this blog relay’s former baton bearers, I too struggled to get the ball rolling in defining what hope meant to me, even if defining the word was just an exercise I used to give myself a jumping off point for the 60-minute mental rant that was inevitably going to ensue.
What I came up with is this:
I’m not quite sure what hope is, except the simple and universal act of wanting. What’s hope without desire? And really, what can come of desire without action, commitment and drive?
Are these 3 factors required in order to turn hope into a reality?
There. I had determined the foundation for my inner dialogue by the time I reached the 72nd Street entrance of Central Park, and realized that in under 2 miles, despite a recurring leg pain (that Noah and I narrowed down to something nerve-related; so, I won’t be running tomorrow), I had managed to run lightly, effortlessly and consistently. What I had yet to do was to ascertain what in the world I had hope for.
With 3 miles to go and sunshine all around me, I knew I had to get thinking. There are so many iterations of what hope means from one person to the next, one year to the next, one day to the next, one hour to the next, that one can hardly begin to categorize the various things we hope for throughout a lifetime.
I could go back 15 years and tell you that, at 10 years old, I hoped to be a writer. I can even remember staying up all night as a 5th grader scribing a poem on green velvet shoes (a true fashionista, if you ask me). With action, commitment and drive, I can say that, at 25, I’m well on my way to at least contributing in a somewhat significant manner to the writing and editing world.
I could go back 10 years to my 15th birthday, when I probably hoped to kiss some boy at a party. Whether I did or didn’t, I honestly couldn’t tell you at this point. These nominal crushes of yesteryear have been replaced by such stronger forms of love for family, friends, nephews and nieces, that high school crushes seem centuries away. I will always be committed and driven to help all of them in any way I possibly can.
I could go back 5 years ago to my junior year at the University of Michigan, when all I hoped for was happiness. College was hands-down the four best years of my life, and yet I suffered from a bout of utter sadness that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Again, the only way out of that dark, hopeless hole was to take action, be committed and dig deep to find that inner drive to emerge a better, stronger person. To this day, I credit running for a lot of that hope.
I could go back to yesterday, when this figurative baton of hope was passed on to me, and I began to identify those aspects of my life that give me hope or that I hope for. At the end of the day, hope, desire, action, commitment and drive—they’re all about priorities. As of today, I could hardly begin to put all of the outlets from which I muster true action, commitment and drive into words without rambling on for hours and hours. And as we all know, none of us have that much time.
Rather than bore you with more letters and prose, I’ve put my motivation, my inspiration, my sources of hope and those I hope for, in snapshot form.
1. Running in Central Park. (And, apparently, stretching mid-run.)
2. Family. (I’ll use my nephew to represent us all, but it’s only because he’s the best lookin’.)
3. Friends. (Especially those who don’t call my morning tendencies crazy, obsessive, or anything related to those two terms.)
4. Noah. (And not just because I’m sappy, but because I’ve never found someone who calms me so easily before or who “gets” my running life.)
5. Mountaintop Yoga. (Because what’s not hopeful about that?)
Imagine, all that in only a 5-mile run. And with that, I pass the baton on to Ashley, though you might know her better as “Running Bun.”
- What does hope mean to you?
- What will you run for this week?