When I go out for a run, I always plug in my earbuds and crank up the music. I try to focus on the beats and ignore the burning of my lungs and legs. I do my best to keep my eyes ahead of me in an attempt to keep a decent posture while running, but more than not I end up staring down at the ground so I don’t trip over my own feet. It’s easy to say my runs are a struggle and usually my thoughts are filled with complaining about how hard it is to get back into exercise after taking such a long break from it.
As you can see, I don’t usually do much thinking that really yields anything of importance, but last week was a little different.
I pushed myself a little further than usual one day, doing more than I probably should have since it was a particularly hot and humid day. Bent over at the waist with hands on my knees, my lungs ached and my body was screaming at me for doing something stupid that left it feeling like jello. (It’s not stupid because exercise is good, but my body does not appreciate) While catching my breath, I could feel the sun’s heat on the back of my neck, so I lifted my gaze to the sky, allowing myself to be temporarily blinded until my eyes could adjust.
Maybe it was my exhausted mind, but the light filtering through the green leaves seemed extra beautiful in that moment. Somehow, the sight made me think about my life, and I thought, I need to look up to the sky more often. It didn’t stop there. I thought of my running, and realized I look down at my feet too often in life. I need to look away from the ground and focus on the sky as well as my dreams and hopes of the future. Sure, the earth below my feet is where I’m most comfortable, but I rarely stray from what makes me feel safe. The sky, though, in my eyes held the promise of freedom.
So, yeah, while taking my cool down walk, I had my head leaned back to observe what I have ignored at times. It was silly because walking like that I must have tripped over my feet or stepped in a pothole in the street at least 5 times in that short walk, but when trying to chase your dreams you’re likely to stumble a few times. It made sense to me, but then I looked back down and my eyes fell upon a four leaf clover just waiting for me to take it.
Looking up, you’ll trip and maybe fall, but looking down, you’ll miss the beauty of opportunities.
There’s a simple solution to this, in my opinion.
Just keep looking forward. Not up, not down. Just… forward. Looking ahead of you, you will see the sky and the path your feet are taking you. You’ll still be planted in the present and enjoying the life you lead now, but you’ll still be aware of what’s ahead and the opportunities your life might give you to chase your dreams. And that’s how I plan to live my life from now on, and I guess I should offer nature a small thank you for opening my eyes to something so simple.