I have never really been one for long term planning. Something about it just never sucked me in. I can plan for short term things, like fishing trips or an overnight hike, but I have true difficulty planning long term events. Rather, (and it is not something I am incredibly proud of), I sort of let them happen to me.
I was accepted to college via the early decision route. By November, my life had planned itself for the next five years. I could relax. Unfortunately, when those five years were up, I had no idea where I was going. I should have had a job – or at least known where I was going for graduate school – but as is often my case, I did not. In the last two weeks of school, when everyone else was getting ready for their new jobs with their shiny new degrees, I was scanning the help wanted pages on Yahoo!. I saw an advertisement for work teaching English in South Korea. My major was English/Environmental Studies, and I did have a minor in Education, so of course I applied. A month later I had packed my worldly belongings into two of the biggest duffel bags I have ever seen and was on my first trip out of the Eastern Standard Time Zone.
A couple of years later I was back in the States working as a substitute teacher in Brooklyn when a long term position presented itself. I was given the position and was quickly out of work as the school year ended. Planning on subbing again the following year, I was pleased to be contacted by my old school for yet another long term substitute position – this time teaching sex ed. It was while teaching sex ed that my then live-in-girlfriend gave birth to our son. A little while later she was my wife and our second was on the way.
I like to tell myself I went back to running because I wanted to be a healthy role model for my son, not some binge-drinking, cigarette-smoking, fast-food-loving, overweight, waste-of-life. And while this probably is true, running gave me some control of things. I can plan a workout on the track, or a week of runs, or even a plan to get to race day. I know how to do that. I may not be able to plan long term, but when I am getting tumbled by the currents of life, I still know how to lace up my shoes and walk out the door.