I have never been what you might call a goal setter. I distinctly remember a conversation with my parents, way back in the day when I was floundering around a collegiate career, wherein my father insisted that I needed to learn to set goals; that I must focus on something and complete it. I’m not what you might have known as a “finisher.” I quit playing baseball because I couldn’t hit (more than likely because I needed glasses, which we wouldn’t find out for another couple of years) and I quit taking ballet and tap lessons and I don’t really know the reason behind that particular setback. I quit being a good student when it became more difficult and I actually had to work at it. I quit piano lessons in the 10th grade because I felt like I wasn’t being taught what I wanted to learn and I quit taking organ lessons when the church hired a director because it didn’t feel necessary. I quit college a couple or three times, but did finally manage to make it through. I’m apparently very good at quitting.
Back at the start of the year, I blogged about a number of things, one of which was my goal to run my first marathon this year. Then came SNOWMAGEDDON, the return of the SNOWPOCALYPSE. It seemed as if every day that I was scheduled for a run, there was snow in the forecast, or it had just snowed, or snow was actually falling. In addition to this climatological deterrence, the treadmill that I counted on for getting me through the cold and snowy days developed a couple of holes, a crease, and a small tear in the belt causing it to slip while I ran. Having been on the crappy end of a couple of broken ankles, I thought it best to put it out to pasture. And, as if all that were not enough, I seemed to maintain a constant sinus disturbance from mid-November straight on through ’til about 3 weeks ago. All of these things led me to the exceedingly frustrating decision not to run on April 24 in the Nashville Country Music Marathon. And, it hurt. It really hurt to make that decision because I wanted it to work. I wanted to cross that finish line and get my medal and say that I put in the time and effort necessary to run a marathon. I wanted people to see me as someone who could finish; someone who could be counted on. But, as has been the case many, many times before, I’ve settled for something less than I could accomplish with what seem like flimsy excuses. It also did not help that the financial burden of attending this marathon was not something I expected either. It was not a king’s ransom, but I could not have scraped the entry fee and hotel room out of the couch cushions. Plus, what seems the worst part of this is that after having made the decision, my body just decided that it would take advantage. I’ve run maybe 2 or 3 times since making the decision. I eat constantly, and not things that are good for my body. I had even given up soda during marathon training and now I drink them faster than I ever did before. It’s as if my body knows I gave up and is determined to take full advantage making it that much harder for me.
Now, with all the free time that I have now that I’m not training for a marathon, I’ve decided to go back to school. This shocks me just as much as it does you. With the countless words that I’ve written about how agonizing it was to finish my bachelor’s degree in the first place, the thought of graduate school should make me faint dead away. However, I find myself craving a new educational opportunity. Maybe it’s the new job, or maybe it’s just a replacement goal, but I’m at the very least committing myself to finding out more. Fortunately, with this goal, there is very little downside. I’m in a position where I’m able to attend school for the price of textbooks. It’s a master’s degree in a field that I’m very interested and excited about. So, short of the “entry fee” (the GRE exam cost, which is half the price the marathon event would’ve cost), I can only go up from here. Maybe, just maybe my father was on to something with this whole goal-setting notion. We shall see.
See you in the funny papers!