My husband Bill and I plotted our course for our virtual 5k the night before we ran it.
We wanted to run at a location with little traffic, a place where we would encounter few other people, and on a course that did not begin with a climb up a big hill.
We opted for an out-and-back on a cinder trail starting behind our township building. The trail crosses only two roads, both lightly traveled, in the 1.55 miles before the turn-around, is not frequented by hordes of pedestrians or bikers, and is relatively flat.
We agreed before the run we would run together and run hard, but not at an all-out race pace.
After a brief warm-up, we started our watches and took off.
Within the first half-mile, I was breathing hard. “Hey,” I said, “I thought we were not going to run this fast.”
“OK,” Bill replied, “We can slow down.,” and we backed off the pace.
As we approached the turn-around our speed once again crept higher and higher.
“Too fast,” I gasped.
“Sorry!” he replied and once again eased up.
On the way back, we once again sped up. I had trouble keeping up with Bill but at mile 2.5, with the finish line in sight, I got my second wind and hung on, climbing the final incline at a pace that was definitely race pace.
We finished in under 26 minutes.
I glared at my husband.
“I got caught up in the race,” he shrugged.
Puzzled by his mindset, I asked “What race?”
“It’s a race,” he responded, “even if it’s virtual.”
He’s right, of course. It was a race. We submitted our times, which were published online, even if all the participants ran at different locations all across the country.
Just one month ago, I could not have imagined myself running a virtual race, but, hey, things change.
One month ago, I believed today I would begin the day in Morocco, then fly to Lisbon, Portugal. Of course, those plans changed weeks ago.
There are three basic mindsets we can use when we consider change, no, make that four. The fourth, of course, is to refuse to acknowledge the need to change, to stubbornly hide when change comes knocking on our door.
That’s not really an option today, although some people are accepting the need to change only grudgingly, digging in their heels, kicking and screaming the whole way.
Here are three viewpoints on change, each highlighted with a quote:
- “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi. Gandhi’s goal was to change the world in a meaningful way. He believed to do this, personal change was needed on a grand scale.
In other words, to achieve peace, you must be peaceful. To receive love, you must be loving.
You can also flip Gandhi’s viewpoint on its head. We can use inevitable life changes (like a global pandemic) to initiate personal growth and change.
We will rise to the occasion when life throws challenges our way.
- “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi. This Rumi quote acknowledges the personal growth that comes from living life, making mistakes, and learning from our missteps.
When we are young, cleverness is important – a witty joke, catchy slogan, or charismatic leader’s potential impact is large. As we evolve into better versions of ourselves, we value wisdom, especially the wisdom that comes with experience, more than cleverness.
We acknowledge the need to gain an understanding of ourselves and others.
- “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl. Frankl, an Austrian psychologist and concentration camp survivor, believed that each person suffers in a unique way. We can never completely understand another’s suffering. He believed each challenge we face has meaning, that difficulties give us the opportunity for growth, and, most importantly, that we, as humans, get to choose our response to adversity. That choice gives us a great deal of freedom and a great deal of responsibility.
When faced with disaster we can choose to become better people, sewing masks, donating to our local food banks, calling or texting our neighbors (especially elderly ones) to make sure they are OK, or we can hoard toilet paper and complain about all the personal freedoms we have lost.
Our lives, our challenges, our choice.
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