If you had told 7th grade me I would one day use math every day at my job, I would have said get the fuck out, minus the fuck because I was a pretty good kid. I was not good at math, though, and in fact struggled so much I was downgraded to a class for math misfits. I muddled through, with strong hope that I would at least not need to remember algorithms and linear equations. And I don’t, but I do a lot of simple math every day.
Yesterday I went back for the third time to the early morning runner’s group I joined to learn to run faster. The first time I showed up late and had no idea what we were supposed to be doing. Everyone else ran really fast and I left feeling pretty discouraged. The second week, I showed up on time but didn’t understand the directions and everyone else ran so fast I lost the group altogether and felt even more discouraged. Walking back to my car, I started talking with a veteran member, who told me his pace one day increased mysteriously. Yesterday I showed up and again didn’t really understand the directions and again was passed regularly by herds of runners who remind me of light-footed gazelles. But yesterday I also beat my old personal record from October. I did some math and calculated a 27% increase in speed from when I first got my running watch in June. I’m elated and motivated and so glad I didn’t give up.
I’m also doing the Camp Nanowrimo thing this month, though I’m only 6.7% through my self-prescribed word count goal and already 10% through April. I’ve decided I won’t get 100% bummed if I don’t make it because, you see, for the first time ever I’m sitting down to write creatively and so far I love it. Plus I still have 90% left of April. And please don’t correct my math if I’m wrong because I didn’t even do any better in that 7th grade class for math misfits. I transferred back out because if I was going to get a C in math, my parents figured it might as well be in regular math.
I’m reminded once again why it’s important to stick with something. Oftentimes I have this quiet but persistent voice in my head telling me what I’m doing won’t work and why. Occasionally, another voice that is never my own will offer another point-of-view. It will tell me I can get faster or write something substantial and all I have to do is keep running and writing, though never at the same time. If I just keep putting one foot in front of the other or huddling over the keyboard in my spare time (ha), I may one day not recognize myself anymore, but in the best possible way.