Less spending, less eating, less planned activities, less stress, fewer commitments… you get the idea. Given my tendency to plan, set goals, and stay busy, this year I wanted to create space in my life: space to relax, stay home, play with my kids, connect with my husband, read, pray.
A couple months into the year, I apparently forgot about this idea as a new goal started formulating in my mind. Running a marathon has always been on my list of goals to accomplish. I’ve been running a bit more lately and thought – “I’ll run the Carlsbad Marathon to mark my 35th birthday!” First, I figured, I could run the America’s Finest City Half Marathon in August, as a training milestone. I researched the entry deadlines and fees on the race websites and downloaded a Marathon training program. When Dennis and I discussed the idea he voiced some concern about the amount of time involved (he remembers when I trained for and ran a Half Marathon back in 2010).
Yesterday I went on my first “long run” of 9 miles. While running, I said a little prayer for God to help me come to peace with this aspiration. Is it the right time in my life for this particular goal? Should we spend the money on race fees, better running shoes, gear, etc.?
Although the run went well, the lingering doubts about taking on this goal remained. Then, I started reading a parenting book last night and felt the doubts grow bigger. My kids are young and need my attention. This blog has been a blessing and joy, but it also requires time and energy. I have a full time job, commitments to our church, a disease that requires attention. Which of these areas of my life am I willing to shortchange in order to accomplish this marathon goal?
None of them.
After talking to my wise husband this morning, (who tends to know the answer to most of my struggles before I do), I recalled the theme for this year. Adding this big goal would not be consistent with embracing the concept of less.
Now I’m reflecting on this process of stretching and reeling myself back in. This will likely be something I repeat frequently in life. There’s always something exciting to learn or another goal to set. There’s part of me that feels like I’m not doing enough when I’m not “busy”. But, there’s simply not enough time to devote to everything that’s interesting while honoring the people that are most important. In the end, this awakening has been about focusing on what I value most. It’s not that these other activities, goals, or interests are not valuable, they’re just not as important as my family.
Anyway, achieving a marathon goal when I turn 40 would be a much better milestone, right?