Right now, I'm sitting at the desk in our office, nursing a headache and feeling slightly overwhelmed. Though it's only Monday, I already feel behind. The weekend catapulted me into the week without much warning. I didn't get the house in order, I didn't make a significant dent in the papers I need to grade, and I didn't finish the two recommendation letters students asked me to write last week.
I could list a dozen more didn'ts -- things I didn't do, didn't finish, or in some cases, didn't even start. I'm good at noticing the didn'ts.
I realized this after completing a trail run yesterday. It's one of my favorite places to run: a beautiful path that mirrors the turns of Spring Creek after its uneventful start at a gravel parking lot near a fish hatchery. It ends three miles downstream at little community called Fisherman's Paradise, which, in my opinion, is one of the most wonderfully named locations ever.
Despite the location, yesterday's run was miserable. My legs had felt heavy; my pace was painfully slow. Bothered by a combination of coldness -- a head cold and the cold temperature -- I periodically blew my nose on the napkins that I had grabbed from my car's glove box and stuffed into my jacket pocket. Then, losing all decorum, I blew my nose on my sleeve. At one point, I contemplated lying on the sloppy, muddy path and dying. (I decided against it.)
Once I finished, I stretched my quads and leaned against my car, just grateful to be done. Noticing me as he put his gear into the back of his truck, a fisherman asked how far I had run. Once I answered, he exclaimed, "All the way to Paradise and back? You ran all that way? What's that? Over six miles?"
When you're met with a response that enthusiastic, there's no didn't. There's no, "Well, I didn't run very fast," or "I didn't feel great," or "I didn't think I'd make it, quite frankly." A response that enthusiastic makes you proud of what you actually did. Yes, I ran all the way to Paradise and back. Yes, I ran all that way.
I think I could use more of this in my life.
I'd look at my weekend differently -- not judging what I didn't do, but celebrating what I did: catching up on laundry, making a giant crock pot of barbecue for our church's Super Bowl party, reading my students' weekly blog entries, preparing this week's class materials, completing a colleague's teaching observation, baking and delivering cookies for our new neighbors, sorting through my daughters' Friday folders, and yes, running the full length of Spring Creek Canyon -- all the way to Paradise and back.
More did. Less didn't. It's a good shift in perspective.