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Why I'm Not A Runner

On Tim (the Uber driver), goals, and utter confusion

If I started a marathon, I think I would never finish.

First of all, my knees would surrender immediately. Beyond that, though, marathon runners know exactly where they’re going and how to get there. They are equipped with a path and finish line from the beginning.

If runners are toy trains on a track, I’m a toy train in a pinball machine. Better yet, I’m a fruit fly in an abundant, rotting garden, or a motorcycle weaving through traffic. Perhaps I’m the needle for some intricate embroidery. In any case, I’m anything but linear.

Runners, then, do what I don’t: begin with the end in mind. And- for those who read Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People- apparently they’re right for it. This book is practically the Bible of the self-help world, so its emphasis on the goal over a dynamic journey shocked me. As if I needed another reason to loathe self-help books…but I digress.

The other day I found myself talking existentialism with an Uber driver. Tim (the Uber driver) wondered aloud what might compel someone to want to stop living… to which I answered “how fortunate are we not to know.”

He then told me what he loves most about life: the present is forgiving. When we are alive, in Tim’s eyes, our chances to succeed, love, change, choose, and persevere are infinite.

As I search tirelessly for internships, explore career paths, and attempt to answer the infamous “what do you want to be when you grow up” question, I am reminded of our focus on an end. I feel a looming pressure to decide right here and now who I will be, what I will do, and how I will do it.

I feel rushed like my future will be at my door tomorrow--a knock followed by a husband, children, job, insurance and other adult responsibilities I don’t yet understand. Next week I’ll be gray…and days later planning my own funeral. Am I adaptable, anxious, looking too far ahead, or not looking far enough?

So, while I understand that these are the questions of emerging adulthood, my focus on today feels overlooked.

Instead of forging an adequate answer, I remind myself of Tim and the beauty of the present. I replace the intimidating questions about the future with a simpler one about the present: am I content with today? What brings me joy and purpose right now? What am I learning, how am I growing, and who am I meeting?

And, most importantly, why don’t I start there?

Me, just now, doing something that brings me joy today...AKA writing what you just read


Feb 07, 2023

Amazing writer!


Dec 24, 2022

This was awesome Jenna— needed this reminder ❤️


Dec 24, 2022

Very insightful And beautifully written!❤️


Dec 24, 2022

You are not a runner because you are a writer. Always giving valuable lessons. 😍 love it


Dec 24, 2022

The most insightful thing I’ve read in awhile

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