I went for a jog today. I didn’t bring music, just focused on the tempo of my thoughts and the self-empowerment that comes from shrinking your life down to the things in front of your field of vision. Starting down into the canyon brought this effect into light. Jogging, you have the idea of your goal in mind – the end of the road, but there is a shaky middle ground in between. Instead of worrying about how I will reach that end, I take the natural course. My gaze focuses ahead and downward, watching the ground immediately in front of me for obstacles that might disrupt my footing. Then, the developed trust between my legs and what my eyes see takes over and I move ever forward, one pumping step at a time.
It became less of a conscious process after a short while. The canyon trail leveled out, and became flat and devoid of rocks. My gaze could lift from the earth and soak in the world around me. I could take note of the dark, earthy landscape straight out of a desert, the palm trees taller than most houses, and the beautiful buildings of higher learning that crest the hill to my left. The landscape here is not to be called majestic, I was born in Alaska, but it does have a large calming effect. People with ADD should be prescribed the view here, it is so chill.
It is this natural process that has wound me down in the past weeks. For most of my life that I lived in the United States I would operate with the end in mind. I had a standard of success drilled into me by my parents, by school, by television and by pretty much everyone else. It is this path to success that leads one to school, a job, a house, a family, and on down the road to an insignificant, unfulfilled death. I was so focused on that end, of how much money I was going to have in thirty years, that I wasn’t even taking the proper steps to get there. That goal became me and defined how I operated. I wasn’t me.
I’ve let go of that goal. How can I be history’s greatest man, if I’m not the greatest man right now? Once I asked that question, my focus changed. My gaze drew towards the small things in front of me, I could more easily look at every choice I could make, and the ones that clicked, the ones that I felt like placing my feet upon, they have been the most self-gratifying. They are the ones that bring me closer and closer to my self-defined goal. They are the ones that set me free, that let me trust myself and let my gaze wander to the beautiful things around me. I have never been as happy as I am right now. Even though I am technically homeless, sleeping on friend’s couches and working in the merchant marines, I have never been more self-satisfied.
Jogging through life like this is hard. It can wear you out, it can leave you out of breath and hating it. But then runner’s leg can take over, and you become the fastest person in the world. We always feel better after a jog, we are always happy with that choice – to hit the ground running.