Lately, I’ve been trying my hardest to get back into a regular running schedule. To make things interesting, I’m alternating treadmill runs with outdoor runs (thanks for the 60+ degree weather in March, Earth!). When I run on a treadmill I’m forced to pace myself, since I want to make sure I don’t fall on my face or slip on the machine. I always keep my pace reasonable and hold it throughout the duration of my run. I’m able to finish longer runs this way, even though I HATE running inside.
As soon as you let me outside though, my pace goes out the window. I always start off runs way too fast and end up breathless and walking halfway through, when I know deep down that if I just slowed myself down, I could run the entire distance with no problem. There’s just something about the nice weather, endless sidewalks, and sights to be seen that makes me want to GO.
In the past I’ve approached so many aspects of my life this way. The second something exciting is on the horizon, I want it to happen immediately. I try to do everything in my power to get to the goal the fastest way possible, even if it means late nights, tension headaches, and stressed out phone calls to Mom. When I graduated college, I applied to jobs late into the evening, apartment searched non-stop, and spent many hours stressing about the fact that I didn’t know if Rochester was the city for me. My days started feeling like blurs, and it wasn’t healthy for me mentally or physically.
I think a lot of post grads can probably relate to this feeling as we navigate through the first few years of young adulthood. We want the dream job now, we want to live in the perfect city/town right away, we want to start our post grad lives in the best apartment. It’s easy to burn yourself out if you try to make all of these goals happen by “sprinting” through them. Sometimes they all just aren’t possible at once, no matter how tirelessly we try to make them happen. Taking a less than ideal job that pays the bills should not be viewed as defeat, but instead as a stepping stone to independence. Living with three roommates for a year may be the last thing you want to do, but could lead to a beautiful second apartment, furnished by all of the money you saved by having roommates.
It’s almost been two years since my college graduation, and I’m just now realizing the importance of pacing myself as I plan for some major life changes that will be happening in the coming year. Spreading out my obstacles into lists that I conquer every few weeks instead of trying to check off 20 things in one day (here’s a hint: that never works), has really helped to take the pressure off. I know that if I continued on the sprinting path I was headed, I’d most likely be completely burnt out by my late twenties.
I’m sure many of you have heard the quote, “life is a marathon, not a sprint”. I don’t think these first years after graduation should be treated any differently. Keep breathing and pacing yourselves post grads, you’ll get where you need to be!