Balance

In 2013, I ramped up my running. I had just completed two years of more than 1,500 miles each, and I decided I wanted to go even higher. I started running every day for a period of time, shunning days off to get more miles. It paid off early on. I ran my best marathon time ever in March of that year. I ran my first 50K in September, and I finished the year with over 1,600 miles. Looking back, that was the year I peaked, which in some ways is kind of sad but expected given the relentless passage of time.

It was also the last year in which I didn’t suffer from some sort of nagging ailment (that relentless passage of time again). Early in 2014, I started experiencing ankle pain. It got bad enough that I had to see a doctor and ended up taking three months off from running. I barely finished with 1,000 miles that year, and I haven’t been the same since. I’ve learned to live with the pain, but it has noticeably slowed me down. Nowadays, I’m just happy I can run, but if anything, that year taught me the importance of balance, not just in running, but in life.

Anytime something gets out of balance, an event happens to swing things back into equilibrium. It’s no accident that equilibrium pops up again and again in our high school science classes. The natural world seeks balance. Ancient philosophies considered equilibrium an integral part of their outlook. The whole concept of feng shui is built around striking a balance with the natural world. In other words, while things may swing toward an extreme, they’ll eventually come back into balance. There’s no way to avoid it; it will either happen by choice or force.

We all juggle so many things in our lives. If one thing takes precedence over the others, those other areas begin to suffer. In the short run (pun intended), it’s sustainable, but in the long term, it’s not, and that’s when the pendulum swings back the other way. You can fight it all you want, but in the end, you’ll lose. We all do.

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