Thursday, February 5, 2009

Baby Steps

Sixty-four degrees on February 5th in Nebraska. Beautiful.

I do my best thinking when I'm exercising and thanks to a week of great weather I've been able to do so several times this week. Some people do their best thinking in the shower. But I'm a champion 4-minute shower-er, so those would be some super short thoughts.

I hit the pavement for a jog down Calvert street.

Step. Step. Step. Step. Dodge piddly wiener dog. Step. Step.

Little girl on a scooter. Step. Step.

Man smoking cigarette, blows in my face. Hack. Step. Step. Punk.

I look straight at the ground, or left to right when I run. I've realized recently that looking down at the squares of concrete passing below me passes time the best. Sure I see what's around me, but if I keep my eyes focused on the next step, and not much farther, it keeps me focused.

My friend Rachael and I have this on-going joke that, with any task, big or small, we encourage each other quite sarcastically in saying, "Baby steps. Baby steps. You can do it." I think she made it up when quoting that movie, What About Bob?

Step. Step. Almost hit by woman driving and talking on her cell phone. Step.

Last night, talking to Jeremy on the phone, I admitted just how much I dread the idea of being in college for three more years. That feels like so long when I just want to help people and I did that last year without a degree.

I've always figured I would die young and tragically. I've always felt like I am running out of time. Breathing is important. There is time.

Speaking of breathing, heavier, deeper, I plod. Plod. Plod. Plod. The sun skims my face. Ahh, vitamin D.

Earlier today, while studying for my Philosophy of Education class, I read about the Progressive theory of education. One of their core ideas is, "Education is life, rather than preparation for it."

What if, like my jogging habits, I only looked directly at the day ahead of me instead of the 3 years down the road? What if I took "baby steps" in reaching graduation and actually enjoyed my time here? It's far too often that I hear, "College was the best time of my life" and wonder what the heck they are talking about. I could stand to soak up the moments a little more.

I am not a child anymore. I am not in Cambodia anymore. I have many years before I graduate and I'm not running out of time.

Running out of time. The sun is falling behind the barren sticks of trees and colonial brick houses. The cool of late afternoon brushes the skin on my shins.

It's still early, but the white moon makes an early appearance in the blue sky. The moon.

Last year, I'd go jogging in the morning and jealously talk to the moon, imagining there was someone sitting on it's surface watching out for my family and friends at home. I'd shake my fist and cry, jealous of it's regular journey from Cambodia to the States, the States to Cambodia. Remembering the constancy of the moon, I'd beg to be anywhere but Cambodia.

I'm often discontent.

Reaching the end, I plod slowly to a leisurely stroll. Walk. Walk. Walk. Hmmmmm.

Baby steps. One day at a time. Focusing on the life in front of me, instead of the life I wish I had. The breaths keep coming, the days keep coming.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Ahh...Good run.


Carley Brown said...

I can't wait for springtime. I love running outside also and soaking up the sun and fresh air. Its so refreshing. I run on the indoor track we have here at our rec center and its nice not to have my lungs freeze.

Enjoying life as it is right now is such a good thing to do. Sometimes I think about the future to much also and find myself discontent. I'm excited for the future, but also scared of all the 'pressures' to do good, graduate, find someone I love blah blah blah. But being happy right now is always good.