I had an epiphany during my jog last night: I like running! Kind of weird, right? Well, not as weird as the reason why I like running. I like it because I’m bad at it. Like terrible, no good, what-is-she-thinking? bad. I’m slow, my stride is awful and my short legs definitely aren’t a natural fit for this sport. But instead of being detractors, those traits are what make me enjoy this crazy experiment of mine to go run a half marathon. Why? Because sometimes there’s something to be said for the struggle, the fight, and the dedication to do something that is not your strong suit.
This has been somewhat of a revelation for me. We naturally tend to gravitate towards interests in which we can excel. School, music… those were things that I naturally thrived and exceled with. Don’t get me wrong, I put in lots of hard work to be successful in those endeavors. However, there was a natural talent that always existed and it was just refined by the hard work I put in. The awards, the medals, the accolades… they were due to my hard work but also the talents that God blessed me with.
Running, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. I have no natural talent and every single bit of progress is earned through nothing less than a lot of sweat, pain and sometimes tears. Unlike music and academics, I will never earn any accolades in this sport. My victory will simply be found in crossing the finish line. My goal is to be average. And that’s a good thing!
As Gavin gets older, we’ll see where his interests lie and try to guide him towards activities that he will enjoy and be successful at. However, I’m starting to think it may also be a good thing to introduce him to activities that he may enjoy but not be the best at. Because it’s a great learning experience to challenge yourself to find a way to do something you really want to try even if it’s not something really suited for you.
One of my favorite quotes:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
How grateful I am that I will never be one of those cold and timid souls. At the end of the day, that is victory.