One of my friends on Daily Mile, http://www.dailymile.com, told me I ran a personal best at Baltimore’s annual Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k yesterday. That’s what it felt like. But for me that goes deeper than just my run time. I actually started something, worked toward a goal and completed my goal – definitely a personal best for me.
It’s not that I’ve never finished anything. But starting something and finishing it was always a particular criticism aimed at me when I was a teen, so it’s always stuck in my mind as an aspect of my character that I need to improve.
I would start sewing projects, get almost finished and then stuff the rest of it in a drawer – usually still pinned together where it should have been sewn together. I didn’t really like sewing and I guess that could have been my thinly veiled excuse. But that wouldn’t help improve my character much.
I started other projects too: piano lessons and recitals which ended when I sat myself down for a piano recital without my sheet music – and had a total memory blank. Ballet lessons ended before I started to understand how much I liked to dance. Playing the clarinet ended because I was too lazy to practice – that and the fact that the reed tickled my lip in an annoying way when I blew on the mouthpiece. And now that I’m thinking back, I realize that the sound of the clarinet went through my head like a nail.
Playing sports was never my forte . I had no confidance in my ability to play organized games in high school. Physical education was a nightmare. I cringed every time I had to dress for P.E. let alone wait to see how much people didn’t want me on their teams. Ugh! It was the worst feeling in the world. So bad that I utilized every trick in my arsenal to get out of going to P.E. – including writing a fake note and using my parent’s rubber stamp of their signature to sign it.
I didn’t start figuring out what I was good at until: 1) my Aunt Vivian taught me to crochet when I was 16 years old; and 2) I started writing. Then I actually started finishing what I started.
You couldn’t really call the lap-sized projects I would crochet blankets, but whatever I started I finished and then taught myself more stitches. Before long I was making beach towel and twin-bed-sized afghans with a variety of stitches. And I had the same experience with my writing.
My first published writings were letters to the editor. I would find something in the news that pissed me off, then write a letter to the editor about it. The Star Democrat in Easton would publish it and whoooo! What a rush to see something that I created published in a the newspaper with my name in the byline. Finishing what I started took on a whole new meaning after that and boosted my confidance so much, I had the audacity to gather up a collection of my letters to the editor and other examples of my writing and take them to the editor of the Star Democrat – without a college degree and in particular without a journalism degree. And what do you know? She hired me as an intern at first, which segued into a paid staff writer position.
Yowza! I could finally see how finishing what I start could be beneficial. Sounds elementary I know, but like a traveler walking against the wind, my impatience to get what I want has ironically kept me from figuring out what I do want and then following a specific course of action to get me there.
That’s why I’m so proud of myself for completing this 5k. My Dad would have been tickled to see that I advanced from running a few feet then giving up when he would try to get me to jog; to training myself to start running and keep going until I could enter a running event. I always said I had no plans ever to enter a running event; that I was running just for my own personal enjoyment. Now I’m thinking hard about my schedule of training and what I need to do to place first in my age category next year.
Finished this goal. Now on to the next.