Lifelong Learning: The uphill and downhill battles we face
January 20, 2021
I have probably made the jog from my house to the work at the college and/or back home, legitimately 500 times over the last couple years. I have run Grant Street so many times, I might actually have every crack in the sidewalk memorized. However, every time I run up, or down, it’s not only different, but it’s always still hard.
Some days when I run, the wind is blowing (as it does often in Rock Springs). Some days it’s cold. Some days there is snow and it is slick. In the summer, some days are pretty warm. Some days my body is feeling pretty awesome and on others I am “feeling my age”, and a little achy. Regardless, I run.
I do so, because even if something is a little hard it doesn’t mean it isn’t good for me. Facing challenges, obstacles, difficult situations, battles and opportunities is what helps me grow.
Some people assume that my downhill run of Grant Street, when I head home from work, must be easier because I am headed downhill. It might be because of the expression, “it’s all downhill from here,” which is supposed to mean that the hard work is over, and it’s all going to be much easier the rest of the time and I can “coast” a bit.
I would disagree in that at least for me, there are just as many challenges with running downhill as there are when running uphill. First, I am running home after a long day at work and I am tired. So, running when I am already tired and ready to be home is mentally challenging.
For me, going downhill too fast on foot or on a bike, can definitely lead to a wreck and tumbling “out of control”, much more than if I were to stumble while going uphill. Because of this I have to adjust my cadence and my stride. I have to pay attention and not just put myself in cruise control.
Many times while running, people I know will slow down in their cars to ask me if I need a ride, especially if I am running at dusk or in the cold.
I always thank them but decline their offers. Even though part of me might want to quit, I refuse to take the easy way out. I remind myself that in order to get where I need to go, I have to put in the work. If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for!
In my office, I have placed a little post-it note near my computer, reminding me that when I insert letterhead into my printer, it needs to be placed in there, “head first, facing up”. I originally put the note up to remind me about the positioning of letterhead but it has now become a different reminder for me.
It probably sounds silly, but it reminds me to “keep my head up” when facing difficult situations. For instance, when running if I feel like walking up Grant Street, I tell myself to lift my head up. I get my head into it and then the rest of me follows as I make my way up and I quit complaining and keep on running, even if my progress is slow and my frustration is high. The same is true for me when I face other difficult situations.
There have been many times when I have felt like things were breaking or coming apart all around me. At these times I have tried to remember the bird that sits confidently and contentedly on the branch in the tree. She does not fear the branch breaking beneath her because she trusts her own wings if indeed the branch were to break. One more sign in my office reads, “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly? By Erin Hanson” I think that now, more than ever, we all need to remind ourselves that we can move forward, onward and upward even during COVID-19.
We must endure, we must battle through and we must outlast. Let’s do this! I’m not talking about making a New Year’s Resolution. Just start from where you are now and make a move in the direction of your dreams, hopes, ambitions and aspirations. And, should you fall, fail or falter, simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off, adjust your sails, your direction, your approach or your attitude and go it again! Battle on!
And, wave or honk the next time you see me running, because encouragement from myself is good, but encouragement from others is awesome as well!
Have a great day!