The Year’s Not Over Yet

Years ago, when my oldest daughter started preschool, I traded in my traditional January-December calendar for one that ran July-June. This new calendar allowed me to better manage her new school schedule and extracurricular activities. Even now, I still purchase this type of calendar every year, despite having a calendar at my fingertips on my cellphone. There’s something about the look and feel of the fresh, blank pages of a paper calendar that cannot be replaced by the convenience of a calendar on a screen.

As July 1st looms, I have found myself staring at my new calendar and wondering both what things will fill up the pages and what things will happen off of the pages. It also has been a time to reflect on the first six months of 2019 and to gauge my progress on the new year’s resolutions that I set out to achieve. Parts of my past, present, and future can be found on the pages of my soon to be obsolete calendar with my new calendar, and I have been somewhat struggling to formulate goals and intentions for the remainder of 2019. Until today.

What better place for me to gain clarity than on my beloved trails. So, this morning, I headed out on the trails with a head and heart full of questions about what goals I should set and what steps I should take. I had barely started running when I received an answer, albeit not the one that I expected or even wanted.

Almost immediately, as I started down the path, and the canopy of trees formed a protective covering over me, my lungs filled with the heat, humidity, and less than ideal air quality of the Ohio Valley. It felt like I was running in slow motion, as I couldn’t catch my breath, and I couldn’t find a comfortable stride. With these initial steps, the sheer joy I had felt when entering the trails began to give way to anxiety and frustration.

This trail run was not going as planned, and for a fleeting moment, I considered quitting. Then, almost as soon as the thought of abandoning my trail run crossed my mind, I crossed off that option and kept running. As I ran on and some of my favorite music filled my ears, I felt my body and my mind settle into a comfortable rhythm that eased my frustration and anxiety. That rough start gave way to another smooth and healing trail run. As usual, I left the trails feeling better than when I entered, and I also exited with my plan for the rest of the year.

That frustration and anxiety that I felt on the trails mimicked how I have felt off of the trails. Those feelings have not been crippling, as they have been in the past, but they have been present, just under the surface. I have some goals that I would like to reach by the end of the year, but I have been stymied by my inability to formulate more concrete plans and the feeling that time is running out on this year already.

As I ran, though, it occurred to me that the best plan may very well be to stop trying to force myself to devise a concrete plan based on a timetable and let myself settle into the next six months instead. So, I shifted my focus to quieting the chatter in my head and trusting myself to find my way. The year’s not over yet, and there’s still time to make new goals and reach old ones. I am just getting started.

That’s another story. . .

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