stretch High-res version

In a few days, I turn twenty-six. That’s one year more than a quarter century and one year into the latter half of my twenties, the decade in which I am meant to feel most vibrant and energized and beautiful. It’s twenty-five years after I learned to walk and twenty-three years after I could use the bathroom by myself. It’s four years after I walked off a stage clutching a creative writing degree, and nineteen months since I uprooted my life in the quaint college town of New York City and moved to the quiet port of San Francisco.

 

It’s twelve years since I went for my first-ever run, on rolling concrete hills in the hamlet of Los Angeles. Running, I’ve learned, is not all about the numbers. Well, it is and it isn’t. A log keeps one accountable. A watch tempers grandiose self-image. A 6:30 alarm offers a reason to get out of bed in the morning. A race goal dangles a chaseable carrot. But the numbers don’t explain why we run. In running, there is rarely pleasure and always joy – the distinction between which is defined so deftly by Zadie Smith:

 

We were heading toward all that makes life intolerable, feeling the only thing that makes it worthwhile. That was joy.

 

Running is a practice. I take it seriously, and also realize how vain my pursuit of it is. I do it for the sake of doing it. There is no why. And I have no intention of stopping. With this project, I intend to pursue writing in the same way. I may not be very good at it, and I don’t particularly seek recognition (all writers secretly do), but I am interested in it, obsessed by it, and will practice it until I have nothing more to learn. Until the joy disappears.

 

That’s the goal. To write often and learn. To mark the passing of time with miles, songs, and jokes. To cross the finish line slightly different than I was at the start.

 

Ready, set, go.