I'm training for a marathon right now, and some days I'm excited to get up and run.
Most days, however, I dread it. The first thing I do when my alarm goes off is check the weather. I have to remind myself that running at 7 am (when it's 70 degrees out) is much more pleasant than running at 8 pm (when it's still almost 95). That works pretty well actually.
I ran 5 miles this morning. I had a myriad of thoughts as I prepared for my run, including how much I loathe running but how awesome it was that I could run 5 miles on a Tuesday (and it not be my long run). It got me thinking about my preparation for this marathon, which then turned to thinking of a Ben Rector song, which then turned to thinking of life in general.
Check out this song (it's only a couple minutes long), then come back to me.
Done? Cute song, right? My favorite line in the entire song goes like this:
"Cause life is not the mountaintops
It's the walking in between"
Each week as I complete my long run, I've added miles (which is a big deal) in order to be ready for the marathon in December. But there are three other days in the week where I'm just doing plain old runs. No glory. No recognition. They're the ones that are easiest to overlook, to excuse away, to try and avoid. Yet they're so very important. They're the reason I can add mileage each week. The reason each run feels better than the last.
Life is like that. I think as kids growing up, it's much easier for us to see progress. Each year we (hopefully) move up a grade until we eventually graduate from high school. If we go to college, we mark off classes as we take them until we have our degrees.
And then we enter the real world (as if we hadn't been living before then). Suddenly, progress is much harder to see. We spend our days in the trenches feeling like we're getting nowhere. A year passes and we wonder what we're doing with our lives. We look at our peers around us and see them moving up, up, always up.
Photo via Heavens to Betsy
If you're feeling stuck in an in-between time right now - maybe you're trying to finish school so you can get that dream job; maybe you're trying to get into school; maybe you want kids but are trying to save up money; maybe (fill in the blank with your situation) - my advice is to find something tangible you can work toward in the meantime. For me, this marathon training is the in-between. It's a piece of my life moving forward and getting better while I wait to see if I'm accepted to nursing school. It takes effort and planning, but it's still a relatively small portion of my week. It's helping me learn to be patient in waiting. And it's a reminder that even the in-between times have their merit. We can always learn something new and better ourselves. Sometimes, the in-between is the best place to do that.