Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Sprinter and The Trudger

I blow the steam away from the surface of my coffee, anticipating its creamy roasted goodness with a smile.

It's a rare afternoon with no pressing deadlines, no plans, no structure. Sleet spits against the window, blurring the grey and white landscape outside.

I feel poised on the edge of something. I used to feel this way all the time, like a runner hunched over waiting for the gun to go off.  Lately, though, the forced lazy pace of snow days and sick days has unfurled my inner sprinter, forced her to lay low.

Today, for some reason, she's up and itchy, wanting to move forward, press on towards the Next Thing.

What is that Next Thing going to be? I think, with some trepidation.

Cancer honed my ability to live in the day, the moment, which is mostly a blessing.  Thinking about tomorrow, or next week, or next month, when you're in the throes of cancer feels wrong, like testing the fates unnecessarily.

When is it time to move on?  Is the answer never?  Is the answer now?

I had a good natured disagreement with my friend Courtney a while back, about the expression "trudging the road to happy destiny".  I told her it annoyed me, this expression, because I think of trudging as a negative - something you have to do, not something you want to do.  Trudging connoted, for me, feeling the heavy weight of each burdensome step.

She laughed and said she couldn't disagree more.  "Trudging is walking with purpose," she said.  "It's one of my favorite expressions.  When you don't know what else to do? Walk forward with purpose. It works."

She's like this, Courtney.  A casual conversation with her is peppered with all sorts of profound wisdom. She doesn't seem to notice, which makes me adore her even more.

I've been thinking about trudging differently since then.  I trudged my way though early recovery - twice. I trudged my way through the sudden death of my father and the grieving aftermath. I trudged my way through cancer.  I'm trudging my way through a winter clogged with fierce weather and stuffy noses.  Looking back on the past two years, it was trudging that got me through.  Moving through each moment with only one purpose:  keep going.

When I think of trudging, I picture my head down, keeping my view on just the few feet in front of me. This isn't a bad thing, I've come to understand.  Breaking the pace of life into individual footsteps is so contrary to how I lived my life for so long - eyes squarely fixed on the horizon and missing so much that was right under my nose.

So what's next? my inner sprinter wants to know.  Is it the completion of Shining Strong, the non-profit company I'm building?  Is it growing The Bubble Hour even more?  Is it finally writing that book?  What if my cancer comes back? Now that I know how quickly life can change on a dime, do I dare dream?

I feel the anxiety and impatience willing up inside me.  The antidote?  Trudging. Walk forward with purpose, with my eyes focused only on the next few steps.  The outcome has never been up to me, anyway, it just took the cage-rattling experiences of the past two years to make me understand this.

And so I trudge. Every now and then I indulge in a glance back over my shoulder and I think: wow - one step at a time and I've gotten farther than I thought possible. 

Evey now and then I glace up ahead, and think: I wonder what's up there?

My sprinter stamps her feet impatiently, urging me to get there - wherever there is - faster.   It's harder to trudge than to sprint, I tell her.  But it's worth it.


  1. And I can't tell you just how much I needed to read this today. Beautifully written, Ellie.

  2. I enjoyed reading this, thanks. And I hope you do write that book!

  3. I love your friend's interpretation of trudging. I, too, tended to view the word negatively. I shall change that!
    Thanks to her and to you, Ellie.

  4. Nice. I have been trudging for a while, and trying to appreciate the day-to day. It's good enough for now.

  5. Beautiful, Ellie. Did you see Brene Brown on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday? SO inspiring!

  6. So very true- and now I have something in my eye.


  7. I AM Dora Sandy i want to give thanks and i will always give thanks to Priest ina who brought back my divorce husband that has left me for 6years within 48hours,i have said about this last week but i promised to always tell people about this every weekend so that those that did not read about it last week will read about it this week,i have been looking for how to get pregnant and how to get my divorce husband back to my life because i love him with the whole of my heart,i could not replace him with any body,one day i was watching my television when i saw a lady giving thanks to priest ina and telling the world how he helped her i was so shocked i could not believe it because i never taught that there are powers that can bring back lost marriage,then that was how i decided to contact him too because i do really need my divorce husband back,when i contacted him i told him everything and he told me not to worry that my divorce husband will surely be back to me, within 48hours at first i could not believe because i was thinking how could somebody that has gone for 6years come back within 48 hours,so then i decided to watch and see,unbelievable within the next 48hours i got a call from unknown number so i pick the call the next thing i could hear was my husbands voice he was pleading and begging me on the phone that i should forgive him that i should forget all that have happened that he did not know what came over him,he promised not to leave for any reason,that he was really sorry for what he did,i was so surprised because i never believed that this could happen,so that was how i accepted his apology and the next morning he came back home to meet me and still pleading for me to forgive him i told him that everything is okay that i have forgiven him,that was how we started again and he has Chang,i promised to say this testimony in radio station,commenting this testimony that now am pregnant,but still okay before this month runs out i promise to say this in radio station and i will sir, thank you very much.World please am begging you people to try and help me thank this man for me,or if you need his help here is his email address prophetoyinbojesus@yahoo.com or you can also reach him through his mobile number,+2348074066640

  8. Love your blog!! Why don't you blog anymore :( I miss your blog. Wahhh
    Temple Run 2
    Temple Run
    baixar Temple Run 2
    jogos Temple Run 2

  9. good disturb the installation of TuTuApp on your tool, consequently TuTuApp for Windows allows their users to set up paid applications totally free. great.