But this holiday season it was imperative that I managed it well. We had three cities to navigate through within 24 hours, catch up with family, and pretend not to be exhausted throughout the process. This was a time of pure endurance! I had prepared for this day for months. I felt like the character in the Black Friday Target commercials. I timed the traffic at peak hours. I worked late and slept less. I would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming “pack, pack, pack” just to see if my husband was prepared for the holiday season. This was no time for mishaps!
I lined up at the starting line, did a few stretches, and was the first out of the gate at the sound of the gun. I actually left a tad early from work, but this was no time to count penalties, I had a race to run. Second hurdle of only utilizing one overnight bag (as ordered by coach husband) posed to be a challenge, but I cleared it with room to spare. Fatigue started to set in by hurdle three of driving down the 91 after the sun had set, but the coach splashed water on my face from the sidelines to jar my endurance. Fourth hurdle was cleared without a stumble as we pulled into the driveway to the T of the estimated arrival time.
But it wasn’t until the fifth hurdle that I started to trip up. The hurdle had been knocked down! Thanksgiving dinner was ready early! AHHHHHH this was unexpected. This meant that the time between dinner and estimated time of departure would be elongated. Time is imperative for maintaining endurance. If the time was stretched, it offered room for me to set in a comfortable pace turning my sprint into a marathon, meaning I had to slow down! I took a deep breath and mentally tried to prepare for this new change of pace; but it did not go as planned.
It started out with revisiting old family stories, laughing until our stomachs hurt, and watching the kids’ eyes sparkle in amazement at the people we grew out of. The stretch led into reminiscing on loved ones no longer with us, predicting sibling’s futures, and watching a series of hysterical YouTube videos. It rounded out with doing each other’s hair, movie watching, and dessert eating. And then endurance’s worse enemy struck: hugs and sad goodbyes. I had completely lost my pace, focus, and endurance.
I had succumbed to familiarity and it felt good. It was like eating that first piece of cake after dieting for 6 months; like wrapping up in a blanket and watching “Stepmom” on a rainy day; like watching your nephew crawl into your arms and say “I love you”; it felt like family; it felt like home. I had trained to get through the holidays but i had not prepared to be in them! Tears weld as I realized the sixth hurdle was in clear sight. While the rest of the race still had to be ran, I was aware now that I didn’t have to sprint.
I came to realize that if I run fast throughout life never slowing down to refresh myself with the reason I am running in the first place there is no reason to run at all. I vowed to terminate my entry in the mad dash of life and submit my name for the marathon of living.
Always with love,