Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I run because it is my calling....

Some people are fortunate to know beyond a shadow of a doubt what they are meant to do. We all have some friends like this. Maybe they always knew they would be a lawyer, or a doctor, or a wall street tycoon.

I have never had this kind of clarity. I entered college and became a film major because I had taken some screenwriting and production courses. I was passionate about film and still am, but had a hard time seeing film becoming the nucleus of my professional existence.

I changed my major to 'Law and Society' and found myself intrigued with the idea of becoming a lawyer. This idea was likely spawned by films I had seen where lawyers were heroic crusaders for justice and truth. I began to realize this was not the reality for most who went down this path.

I changed majors again to Sociology. It was intellectually stimulating and rewarding, but the two paths that followed this course of study didn't thrill me. I could become a social worker and make as much money as I was making as a barista in college.

Alternatively, I could go to graduate school, accumulate staggering debt, and become a professor. Becoming a professor sounded intriguing, but I wasn't so sure about the time, energy, and staggering debt.

Following college, I segued into IT. I barely knew how to send an email nor did I know what an operating system was, but I would learn. I would also learn structured query language, a little Visual Basic, and HTML. All of this was stimulating, fascinating, and challenging, but it didn't feel like my calling.

My professional disenchantment would lead me down myriad paths. I explored voice acting, psychology, screenwriting, and penning film reviews. All of it intrigued me, but did any of these professions really capture what I was born to do? In lieu of no real answers, I continued to explore.

My past would ultimately provide the clarity I was seeking. Running had been a huge part of my high school experience. It had been a stabilizing force, a source of inspiration, a source of solace, and a passion. A statement my coach made about me being a great marathoner some day haunted me after college and would ultimately get me back into the sport.

I experienced a running renaissance. While the fire had not burned for quite some time, there were still a few flickering embers to fan. A day at the office left me mentally fatigued and disenchanted. A few miles later, I was seemingly rejuvenated. I merely went through the motions at work. But, when I ran, I felt alive.

No matter how fast or far I ran, I came back for more. I began to realize that perhaps I had found my calling. Perhaps I had found what I was born to do.

I had no illusions I had the kind of talent to be a professional runner. But, I was confident my passion for the sport was as intense as anyone's and surely this would lead me in the right direction. So, I followed this passion.

Nearly a decade later, I am still following this passion in ways I never could have imagined. The path I've traveled has been far from smooth. There have been bumps, bruises, bloodshed, and heartbreak.

But, there have been no shortage of ecstatic moments, inspiring moments, and moments when I realize I am impacting people's lives in profound ways.

Running is my passion, my dharma, and ultimately....my calling. I run because it is my calling.

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