Life is Not a Crew Race

As I sit here at 8 pm on a Thursday night, determined to get a post out before beginning my nightly ablutions, I am reminded of something  a friend once told me that had great resonance for me: “Life is Not a Crew Race.”

He was right. It’s more like a marathon.

My friend was talking about graduate school, and the fact that you couldn’t think about pursuing a PhD (something we were both doing at the time) as a short term project or you’d never get anywhere. Rather, you had to think of it as a long term investment and understand that the payoff would be deferred.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because when I began this blog, “blogging every day”–or at least every week day–was one of my resolutions. I’m a pretty self-disciplined sort, so I thought it would be no problem. And it wasn’t–for the first two days. And then a massive, unexpected family crisis unfolded that had me on a plane to New York within three hours of booking my flight (I live in London, so this was not a trivial journey). And there went post number three, disappearing into thin air somewhere over Iceland (or was it Greenland? Note to self: must learn names and locations of Northern island countries.)

And though I’m SO GLAD I went to New York, and SO GLAD that I have the sort of career where I can drop everything and run to the nearest airport when I need to, I also felt this nagging sense the entire time I was there that I was letting myself down. That I’d committed to something and failed to follow through. And because when things like this happen I often go on what another friend calls a “death spiral,” before I knew it I had death-spiralled down to the end of the blog…to the end of my career as a writer…the end of, well, everything. In like five minutes. I was dead.

And then I remembered this quote from my friend and I took a deep breath and I felt a bit better. Because while this new blog is really important to me and something that I don’t want to let fall to the wayside (and while I’m at it, please do give me credit for not beginning this post with the all-dreadful “Sorry it’s been quiet here for awhile…”), it’s also important for me to recognize that sometimes life really does intervene and things more important than–egads!– will take over and supercede it.

Because if there’s one thing that I do know, it’s that writing–blogs, fiction…heck, just about anything worthwhile–really is a marathon. It’s something you build upon, and improve, and experiment with every day. And if I just think about this blog as a giant 26 mile run around a city (any city, but let’s pick Washington DC for the moment, since I once ran a lame-o 5k there many moons ago) rather than a sprint/crew race/pick your athletic poison, then I know that having missed three days of posts does not mean that I’ve lost the entire race.

In fact, I’ve just begun…

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1 Comment
  • Reply david

    April 1, 2009, 12:58 pm

    (Note to self: must learn names and locations of Northern island countries.)

    It’s simple:
    Iceland is green (and small), and Greenland is covered with ice (and huge).

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