By Paula Sirois
Lying in bed eating fudge and reading Runner’s World magazine, I came upon an interesting article about running guru Bart Yasso. He’s famous in running circles (no pun intended). Why? His staggeringly fast running speeds at just about every crazy marathon known to man, and for his motivational speaking tours and for continuing to run when his doctors told him to stop running. He’s ill, in pain and still running mammoth marathons, pushing himself — limping and in agony — and finishing. Naturally, I’m in awe that this man keeps going — refusing to quit.
He claims that his illness has brought him more awareness and happiness because he is now aware of what is important. What’s important? Continuing. Not quitting. Keeping on keeping on. We’ve all said this to others during our pep talks or to our kids when they want to quit something we just spent a ton of money outfitting them for cheerleading or soccer or football or dance — but how often do you really not quit? Ever?
Be honest. I quit multiple times a day. I quit cleaning the sink because it makes my feet itchy. I quit putting away laundry because it bores me to no end and, to be honest, I do not have enough room in the closet for the clothes, so at all times some simply have to be dirty. I quit working on assignment A to switch over to assignment B and then quit that to go to lunch or call a friend or check out Facebook. I quit making dinner mid-stream and ask my kids if they’re in the mood for the drive-through. I quit my high school sweetheart (and love of my life) because I figured he’d always be there and didn’t understand that time plus distance usually equals missed opportunities. I quit my dream of becoming a college professor (well, actually the dream of having the college professor office covered in books and people talking metaphorically) because suddenly grad school seemed like forever and ever. I quit my dream job — my own business — because some guy I liked wanted to move for his dream job. I quit a few levels of my integrity while doing other jobs, making money for other people because I had a house, car and furniture now and needed to earn money to pay for all of it. I quit my seven paged typed birthing plan with detailed directions on how I would not use any drugs no matter what (Yes, laugh away. I get it now.), after about five minutes of pain. Can we say wimp? I quit my personal mission of never letting my kids watch TV because I lost it when it got tough. I quit my second personal mission of not having spoiled kids when I realized how well bribery actually works and how angelic kids get when you buckle and get them that toy.
What about you?
This guy believes that we should not only not quit, but that we should not quit even while in pain.
How can we use this sage advice for us non-running freaks?
— WORK: How about not quitting at the very moment the clock strikes five? Why not contribute during meetings; offering your ideas, asking questions or brainstorming. Don’t quit your job while you’re doing your job just because it’s not your dream job. Participate. See what happens. Your enthusiasm may lead to promotions or better opportunities.
— HOME: Go back outside and finish that garden you quit. Put up actual lights and decorations during the holidays. Invite your neighbors over for a poker game or dinner. Paint your front door and hang something on it — the way people do who are trying to be welcoming. Wave at people as they pass your house. Offer to wash your neighbors car while you’re washing your own. Basically, don’t quit your home and neighborhood by coming home and hiding inside your house. Get out there. Get friendly.
— FAMILY & FRIENDS: Quit being mad at people. Yes, even the ones who deserve it. Call them up and apologize and then go out to dinner and talk and laugh and make up. Plan and keep weekly family game nights or monthly friends bowling league. Don’t break the plans for some last minute thing. Commit and don’t quit. Relationships require time logged in to matter.
— LIFE: Write down your bucket list goals. Take some time to figure this out. Don’t quit on yourself — really do it. Certainly your deepest dreams deserve at least five minutes of your time. If you can watch marathon Netflix shows, you can give your life a few minutes. Promise yourself you’ll do at least three things toward the goal this month. Don’t freak out — not the actual goal of climbing Mt. Everest, but the goal of starting a walking program or buying some hiking magazines.
Life is longer than you think. Don’t quit before it’s over.