I love that I do things I don’t always like. Running, for instance.
Most (20 miles) of the Marine Corps Marathon was pretty damn miserable when I was in it. And yet I look back on the experience and say it was awesome.
Much of my running looks like that. A few of them are miserable and a few of them are fantastic. Most of my runs are just…OK. They were a thing I did, and I typically felt good afterward.
There’s a pleasure in doing things you don’t always like but are worthwhile. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately after telling people about my Marine Corps Marathon experience and hearing their responses. “I don’t know how you do that!” “That sounds horrible!”
It is, and it isn’t. You just do it. You sit in the discomfort and find it’s both horrible and not really so bad. Then it’s over, and you have the pride of accomplishing a difficult task and you learn you are capable of a lot.
Marathoning and running have had a tremendous impact on me and my psyche. I can do things. I am tough. I’m a risk-averse person who has grown more confident and more willing to take risks. I more easily take on knew things because I’m not afraid to fail because I have failed and gotten up again. Every single time. My ego has subsided and let my soul take over.
This is about meaning, not just comfort and pleasure.
The Atlantic published an article about meaning being more important that happiness, and I agree. The pursuit of happiness is so loaded. I used to get stressed about whether or not I was happy enough. There was a major scarcity of happiness, and I think many of us feel it. But life is about so much more than happiness. Living through running allows me to feel all of it; the joys, the defeats and everything in between. I want all of it.
I’ve let go of a fight for happiness and instead I do my best to embrace whatever is in front of me, and I chase meaning. Meaning can hurt; it can be uncomfortable. And that’s OK. Good, even! Pain is not always bad. If we accept it, we can learn from it.
Running is that avenue for me. I don’t always like it, but I always love it.