This post was inspired by an elderly lady I ran into at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. She sparked a conversation with me about how lonely she was. Her husband of 50 years had recently pasted away and that he was the love of her life. I said “what an amazing love story”. She grabbed hold of my hand and replied “well it was far from perfect and there were many times I wanted to leave, but we stuck it out, because that’s what you did in our day”. Her eyes welled up, I looked at her and held her frail hands, she said “that’s what made it such an amazing love story… we didn’t give up”. I was so moved. I could not stop thinking about it. Rose Marie this is for you and Stanley and every married couple out there…
Marriage is like a Marathon, you go in thinking it will not be difficult. You start the race happy and waving at the crowd, thinking “if Oprah can do this, so can I” – right.. Oprah’s not married. Anyway, the crowd cheers, cow/bells are ringing, and they throw rice for you as you start your time together. You run or jog blissfully through those first few miles with a smile so big it hurts, thinking “I got this one in the bag,” this is a perfect race, there is nothing about this that is wrong, this will be smooth sailing.
As the miles/years tick by, you settle into a rhythm, still happy and content enjoying the ride. Often times unexpected circumstances come up: heat, cold, hills, wind, stomach distress or chaffing. Then, after many miles of unexpected circumstances, you might say “hmm, this is not so fun”, but you carry on. Those miles keep ticking away and you begin to get tired. Very tired. You might ask yourself many questions like “Why am I doing this?” or say things like “This is not what I signed up for”. You might even say “I can’t finish” or “I’m ready to stop”. In a really painful moment, you might even say “Maybe I picked the wrong marathon?” or “Marathon’s are just NOT for me”.
It is in these lonely and frightening moments you must tell yourself, or have a true friend by your side say, “you can do this” or “just a few steps more, you will get through this rough patch.” You must take one step at a time – as long as you are moving in the right direction. You may need to pause for a moment, but do not quit. Keep going and working on each step trying to make each one count. As you do this, you begin to pick up step, you feel just a little better. Before you know it you have found a decent pace again, you feel good, the crowd cheers for you, so proud that you have made it this far. At this point you have a chance to make it great, but it’s up to you, you have to work for it.
Those last few miles are life altering, the courage you have mustered to get to where you are bring a sense of accomplishment like you have never felt. You start to fall in love all over again and say things like “this is amazing” and “I love the marathon”. You may even start to get emotional at what you have just achieved. You cross the finish line and a feeling of euphoria descends upon you. You have just done something big… really big and there is no greater feeling, it makes the congenial feelings you had at the start seem minuscule in comparison.
So don’t quit, stay strong, get through the pain, it’s not easy, but you did not put in all this hard work for nothing. Stay the course, you deserve your finish line moment.
PS. I am no where near the finish line, I am projecting into the future. Additionally, there are reasons to DNF as well as leave a marriage. These are simply my musings inspired by a random interaction with a stranger.
Other ways Marathons are like people:
1.The hottest marathons are the most difficult. BTW – use protection/sunscreen with these ones
2.Sometimes the biggest most popular alluring marathons are not that fun, everyone loves them for a reason, you will most likely get lost in the crowd.
3.If you prefer not being attached to one marathon, try the exotic foreign ones, that might be fun.
4.Try running a marathon just for fun, no strings attached.
5.Try being loyal to one marathon, that’s fun too.
6.If you’re bored of the same old marathon routine, try dressing up in a costume to spice things up.
7.You are going to get tired in every single marathon, the grass is not greener, just different grass.
8.There will be marathons that look so appealing and you want to do them so bad, but you can’t do every single one.
How else do you think a marathon is like a person?