I am trying to learn Chi Running wherein one ceases to suffer and instead runs like a child with joy and stamina that flow from our Chi or energy source.
My heart pounds and I feel every step. Every. Step.
“Breathe,” I remind myself, “lean in.”
Another Opening Day.
It’s been a year. I’ve been on this new journey for a year. Not the Chi Running thing, that’s about three days old. But the journey to define myself as an independent entrepreneur, to eschew corporate shackles for wide open spaces.
My birthday just passed and I’ve been on this journey since I served my old cube mates cupcakes and then said goodbye to them forever. I ripped them off like a band aid. Raced into the unknown.
They told me I was brave. I felt brave.
Now it’s been a year and I feel less brave.
Of all these new things we’ve tried, moving to a new city, building a new house, kid in a new preschool, husband in a new store, the hardest has been mommy in a new job. It hasn’t panned out like everything else. It hasn’t been fine. Wonderful. More than we could have asked for.
It’s been scary.
It’s been uncertain.
So I run. I run through the neighborhood where much bigger homes than ours are empty for the day. People work to buy these homes. I run past brick fronts and circular drives and golf cart crossings.
Last week was my birthday. I turned 36 and missed the biggest deadline I’ve ever had:
Finish the dissertation by 36.
Like New Year’s, birthdays offer a chance to evaluate where you are and where you’re going.
Where am I going?
I’m closer. My completed dissertation is now being reviewed by my advising committee. When they approve, we’ll go on to school approval and then we’ll have a conference call in which I’ll defend my work and they’ll call me “doctor.”
I turn right toward the lower loop in Windermere, the established homes with the overgrown trees, much taller than the new twiggy types in my yard. I run down a hill where landscapers are trimming one yard and hope we’ll be able to hire landscapers. I run past the sign for the country club and hope we’ll be able to join the country club. I run by a BMW SUV and hope to trade my CRV in for one of those someday.
I want things.
I think of the progress I’ve made and worry that it isn’t enough. I think of the connections I’ve made and realize they are not customers.
I run. I breathe. Remind myself to find the Chi. Make the running joyful. Shed the worry.
I follow the lower loop around past my friend John’s house. I run back up the hill as Eminem picks up my running rhythm and extols, “I’m not afraid.”
I think, “I’m not afraid.”
Fear has not been my problem. Or has it?
Have I been afraid to make the sales calls? To be seen as a phony? To be exposed as a poser? What if someone says I don’t know what I’m talking about? What if someone says I’m not worth the fee I’m asking? What if I’m afraid to play the game?
I’m not afraid of striking out.
Hell, striking out would let me go back to the cozy cube life with the other ordinary worker bees.
I may be afraid of the game. I may be afraid that a single strike out doesn’t mean game over. I may be afraid it’s still just Opening Day.
I am now 36 years old. I have come so far and still have so far to go. I am desperately trying to find my Chi and some days I’m simply gasping.
It’s the game. I’m in the game and the season has just begun.
I just have to wait my chance to bat. Then swing. Hit it out of the park or bunt it toward the pitcher. Take off running.
Like a child.