It’s been an uneventful summer, but something occurred to me just this morning. I recently started running again, following the moderately successful conclusion of an indoor soccer campaign. I hadn’t previously run for the sake of running since nearly three years ago.
I’ve also started reading more. Books are a luxury I failed to find time to indulge in — the last time I finished a real book was about two years ago.
Back when I was running all the time and reading books left and right, a large chunk of my life was miserable. I’d spend no fewer than fifty hours a week in a faux-corporate prison, in a shell of an office within a razor-wire enclosed, dirty, dusty yard; isolated from people, from civilization, from my potential as both a professional and a human being.
I compensated for this lack of fulfillment by over-extending myself mentally and physically in the non-working hours. I ran several miles up to five days per week. The other days, I’d work out for no fewer than two hours at a time.
To relax I’d cook dinner, then settle in with a book. I’m not the best reader — my mind tends to wander so much that I seem to retain few details of the texts I observe. Back when I was at my previous employer, I couldn’t help but be infiltrated in my calmest moments by the anxiety and stress handed out so gleefully by my superiors. I ran to avoid it. I read to avoid it.
Once it went away, life was better. But here’s the thing, a more comfortable life breeds more complacency. It seems the more my professional life improves, the happier I become with my current state of affairs, and the less I seek to improve upon what’s already going well.
The point here is, I’m starting to return to old habits which were, in part, brought on by work-related stress. This is not a red flag; at this moment there is still no place else I’d rather be. Instead, this is personal growth, through and through. Whereas I needed an escape from the former vitriolic hubris and toxicity of my old work life, now it’s fighting through the growing pains of becoming an established, responsible, accountable, mature professional.
Complacency is not an option. Laziness is a dead end. Happiness is transient. It lasts for some time, then a new challenge arises. As perfect as things were when they re-started, nothing stays the same forever. Adapt or die. It hurts, but it needs to happen.
I’m happy to start running again, to start reading again, and for the first time in my career, I feel capable and enabled to take that next leap forward.
Let’s do this.