Thursday, January 25, 2018

You Don't HAVE to. You GET to.

How many times have you encountered a running friend who, perhaps in the middle of a slump or dealing with an injury, has said they “HAVE to do X miles today”? I readily admit I used to be one of those runners who made it seem like it was a chore to be able to do something so awesome.

To clarify, I use the past tense in describing myself as such not because I never experience the desire to sit on the couch and do nothing. Quite the contrary. As much as I love exercise and feeling the wind whipping around me, I unabashedly can state that if liposuction was free, I would probably run less. There are days I just do not have the same desire to go for a run as I do on others. I will simply bide my time, dressed in my shoes and shorts, just hoping to get another spam email telling me that I need a better mortgage  so I can delete it and shake my fist at the email gods and continue to not actually go running.  Runcrastination, I call it.

But I know one thing for certain, and that is I do not HAVE to run. No, dear sir or madam as the case may be, I GET to run.

The distinct difference between “have to” and “get to” comes from the fact that all around us there are people who would run any chance they could, but because of serious injuries or other circumstances, have been robbed of that blessing. My own father was one of them before he passed away a few years ago. Crippled in a hunting accident before I was born, running was not an option for him. I have no doubt, as much as he jokingly stated that my running feats were a bit on the outlandish side, he would have gladly joined me for one of those jaunts rather than continue to not have the choice to do so.

All around me I see people who have lost limbs in war, have been hit with disease, or have had something else awful fallen upon them who refuse to use that as an excuse not to go for what they want. Watching wheelchair races in a marathon, or people using crutches in one of those obstacle course races or anything else in between is such an invigorating feeling.
I am in no way saying we cannot have bad days and that our own sufferings and troubles need to always be compared to others who have it worse. We are welcome to have our own down moments and lulls of appreciation as to the gifts we have. And while I am writing this in the context of running it can fully be adapted to fit all the myriad of things that we are fortunate enough to do in this world.

However, the next time you think about what workout you “have” to do, or the book you "have" to write, or the children you "have" to take to whatever recital, practice, etc, take just one second to realize how lucky you are that you “get” to do it.

Then go do it.

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