I’ve never run track and field, but I used to go to meets to support my friends all the time. I remember watching my friend give it her all for thirty or sixty seconds just to collapse at the end. It was almost mesmerizing to see every sprinter’s knees buckle as soon as they fell over the finish line, almost as though it was enchanted.
I know what kept them going, I know that bright yellow stripe pulled them in like a magnet. Some days I wonder what keeps me going, what is my bright yellow line? Is it my strange desire to be different and successful? To prove to the world that following in the footsteps of the majority isn’t the only path to happiness? To achieve my greatest dreams without meeting a single expectation of those around me? I don’t know, I just know it’s there. My finish line, my magnet, my driving force. I hope I never meet it. I hope I never cross it and fall in the heat like those runners.
The hurdles always seemed daunting. Running and jumping is something I’m familiar with, but not in this context. When I run or jump, the only thing standing in my way is my own ability to push off the ground and stretch my muscles into the position I need them to be. These runners had a set goal: get over this hurdle so you can get over the next and eventually see that beautiful line of paint. That gorgeous boundary that means rest and accomplishment.
Except I don’t want rest, not now. I want accomplishment, I want value, sustainability, work, revenue, joy, adventure, aesthetic beauty, a sense of pride in my lifestyle. Rest is something I will eventually need to provide myself with. In my youth, rest is all but wasteful. It is a leech on the most productive, efficient time of my life.
People say you can rest in the grave, I will rest in retirement.