Monday, May 11, 2009
This image came to my mind the other night while we were running and I was cursing M's natural abilities again, while my own physical fitness level remains jokingly unimpressive, even as I try and work at it real hard. Even if he rarely exercises, I simply can never keep up with him, and it would be great, once in a while, not to feel like I'm still that sucky kid picked last for the dodge ball team like in grade school.
But hey, what do you know, for the first time, M got stopped by a sudden cramp and shortness of breath, and I did pass him over, with my perhaps slow, but nonetheless efficient and steady pace. The hare does not always win.
And because what can you do when you run except thinking? I started reflecting that I was indeed the tortoise from the story, not just for running, but for life in general. I finished up school late (at the rip old age of 27), even though it was mostly because I took a nearly two-year sabbatical from my graduate degree. And even then, when I started my first real job at 24, I was still not that young, I never had the feeling that I was this fresh up-and-comer arriving to shake things up. There were a bunch a 19/20 years-old in my department, and compared to them and their partying lifestyle, I already felt old and settled into a very adult life. (Ever had that feeling you were old when in retrospect, you realize you definitely weren't? It's the worst ever, all this sheer pure youth wasted for nothing, never to come back. I keep getting that feeling, I keep telling myself I was the stupidest person on Earth for that one night in Paris when I was 22, and as we were walking by the Seine someone had this flight of enthusiasm and shouted that life was wonderful! That we were young and carefree and in Paris and everything was possible! And instead of saying yes! you're right!!!, and fully bask in the moment and propose that we get drunk on absinthe or something I had this nearly-jaded smirk and thought to myself: "wow, lucky him for feeling this way.")
In my social circle, I was pretty much the last one to have kids, finally getting pregnant as everyone was having their second one. The last one to have a car, a house, and a retirement savings account. I was also the last one to meet the right guy, and will be the last one to marry (OK, in all fairness I did get married at 25 so I could temporarily move to Germany, and I divorced at 27, which partly explains all of the above). In comparison, my friend Chantale has been married for nine years already! That's kind of crazy.
I've been telling everyone I wanted to be a writer since I was about 6 years old. I've taken all the classes in university, gotten some coaching, received persistent encouragement for my burgeoning talent, mingled with the milieu, and befriended people who did turn out to become "real" writers living from their art (at the very least her and her). But I did nothing, completely paralyzed by fear. And then, this blog sneaked up on me, and now I can't shut up. We're still far from "the great whatever novel", but I nonetheless call that major progress, and I think I have found my niche, surprisingly in a language I never really spoke until I was about 17 years old.
My point is even if I tend to take a long time crossing that finish line, I still do cross it. Wanting and needing to do things my own way does not only pertain to my upcoming wedding; I guess I've always been like that. I may not have been an early-bloomer, but in the end I did find myself right here, in that place where I feel I could never ask for anything more that what this life gave me.
The hare does not always win.