This is another one of those posts about running. I end up on the trails with nothing but my own thoughts for company, and this is what happens.
The other morning, I realized I am a “far horizon” girl when I run. I like to look at the hills, the vistas, the mountains in the distance. Which is great and all. They are beautiful. The views of God’s creation feeds my soul.
It is really difficult to run up a hill when you are looking to the top of the hill. It is a trick that all runners know. If you want to power up a hill, you have to look at your feet. Because if your view is one foot in front of you, you can’t see the hill. Yes, your body still knows you are running up a hill, but you can keep your mind from sabotaging the effort by just putting one foot in front of the other.
And the act of looking down at your feet has the added bonus of allowing you to notice the details–the rocks shaped like leaves, the footprints of deer, the way the frost looks on the sage brush–details you miss when you are looking at the far horizon.
I used to experience this tension when walking Elliott to school. I would be walking down the street, admiring the paint color on this house, and the porch light on that house. And would realize that Elliott was no longer at my side. I would stop. Turn around. And see him kneeling down, looking at something. I would walk back to see what was going on and discover him intently studying an ant carrying a bit of leaf, or maybe he had seen a centipede scurrying out of the way.
In any case, he had noticed things that I had missed because I was looking at the far horizon, and not looking at the details up close.
And that is the tension we find in our lives. You can’t look at your feet all the time. You’d run into traffic. You’d hit walls. You’d miss the glory of the view.
But you can’t just look at the far horizon either. You miss the details. You end up unable to run up the hill.
How do you prefer to view the world? Are you a far horizon person? Or do you like to watch the ants carry leaf bits?
My experience the other day on the trail has me re-considering how well I know myself. (Which is a common theme for me the past 6 months.) Last week, I would have described myself as a detail person. I am the one in committee meetings who says, “sure. That’s a great idea. How will we pay for it? Who is going to set up the tables? Who is buying the pipe cleaners?” I function in details in my daily living. I don’t think people who know me would consider me a “far horizon” vision kind of girl.
And I don’t think that just because I like looking at mountains doesn’t mean I can’t be a detail person. But I’m beginning to wonder if my detail-noticing-tendencies are not who I am but only something I do so I can make it to the top of the proverbial hill, where the view will be even better.
What if I am actually a far horizon person in places in my life other than running?
To those of you (please tell me you exist) who know yourselves well and deeply, move along. Nothing to see here…
But for the rest of you (please tell me you exist too) who, like me, seem to have trouble with self awareness, what are some of the moments when you learned something “new” about yourself? Who were the people who helped you see yourself more clearly? How did those new insights interact with your previously held understandings of yourself?