When I was younger, I would like to jump off the high diving board sometime. By "like" I mean that I was "terrified." I psyched myself to walk to the diving board. I psyched myself to climb up the slippery ladder. I waited for the diver ahead of me to swim clear of the impact zone, psyching myself to run across the wobbly board and jump. When it was finally my turn, I ran to the edge--then stopped, a sudden fear gripping me. Why does it seem much higher from up here?
Most of the time I threw myself off the diving board before I had a chance to talk myself out of it. It was in mid-air that I would wonder, What the fuck did I get myself into? Okay, I didn't say "fuck," because when I was younger I was terribly scrupulous about swearing. But you get the idea. I instinctively tucked myself into a cannonball, only to land on my butt and essentially give myself a spanking with the water. When I swam out of the way and pulled myself from water's gravitational pull, I was thrilled. I did it!
It was kind of like that when I first started college too. I knew I wanted to get my MLIS ever since freshman year of high school--but I had to suffer through 8 more years of education to get to the point when I could start the graduate degree. I wasn't unprepared for college--my dad did a good job with creating a rigorous home school high school lesson plan. Rather, I wondered, what the fuck did I get myself into? when I signed the loan promissory note. Shit. This is the first time I've ever been in debt. It's not a pretty feeling when you realize just how long it will take to pay off all the loans. It especially sucked when my dad's income was high enough that I couldn't get any subsidized loans, and yet my dad contributed only a tiny bit my first semester toward books--everything else past that was on me. It felt good when I graduated. I did it! Woo!
Same thing when I proposed to my husband. (By email. After skirting around the bush so much before I finally, kinda, sorta, proposed...yeah. That's another story.) We looked up the Archdiocese's marriage prep requirements. What the fuck did we get ourselves into? There were a crapload of meetings, counseling sessions, and so on, just to make sure that we really really wanted to get married. Yet, we did it! It felt great.
So, I'm beating around the bush yet again here. Here's the real point of this post. I'm fucking terrified. Of my goal. To run in the Chicago Marathon in one year. What the fuck did I get myself into? I was tired of dawdling about my pipe dream bucket list item. Just like I psyched myself through college, just like I psyched myself to get to that diving board, I psyched myself up to do this goal. I have a plan, I intend to stick with it. I will probably be hurting after the marathon, like my butt did after doing a high cannonball. The path to my goal will be difficult. But I want to get over that finish line. It may be in 6 hours 29 minutes, but I want my feet to carry me all 26.2 miles just so I can say, "I did it."
I don't intend to make marathoning a hobby of mine, though, in the same vein as I don't intend to go through a divorce and get remarried. I rather prefer to ride my bike. The only difference is that the former isn't protected by a solemn vow like the latter is--so I won't be excommunicated if I did decide to run another marathon. At least that. My husband might think I'm crazy, but at least running more marathons don't count as a cause for annulments.