Every new pair of running shoes smells faintly of hope. It’s part of the bargain, I guess. Put your money down, make your dreams come true. But after a while you stop noticing. Hope simply becomes your partner, your mate, your significant other, part of what drives you. Stop running, however, and those same shoes begin to give off a whiff of despair, staring back from cold desolation of the closet or jumbled together in that useless pile by the front door. It’s an odd transformation, but it holds. That’s about as much wisdom as I can offer after thirty-plus years in the game.
We live with that hope sewn into our hearts. It’s always there, in the next run, the next race, the next text or phone call. Do people even make phone calls anymore? These days the phone is too tedious, too involving. Like letter writing, I can’t be bothered. Or when long distance was only for births, deaths, engagements, and holidays. Go figure.
They ask why we do it, and what’s to say? It’s the best I can do with what I’ve got? How about that? Because not doing it is a calcification of whatever spirit I have left? That work for you? I mean, what is losing after all, but the probable outcome of trying? So we try, then try again. Because the more we try the less value we accord loss, and greater the satisfaction if it works out otherwise. But don’t think too long that it will. You’ll just be setting yourself up. (more…)