Removing the Can't and Nevers
The Imaginary Limits We Put On Ourselves
I just accomplished something I’ve never done before. And I’m feeling really good about it. I never thought I’d be a runner. And really, I’m probably not. But I did just complete my very first, without ever stopping, 5K up and down Hillsboro Rd.
See, just a couple of weeks ago, I decided to sign up for an adventure. It’s called a Half Marathon, and I’ll be flying up to Chicago in the middle of September to do it. But until then, I’ll be training here in the heat of Nashville. Training for something I most likely vowed to never do sometime in the past.
It’s easy to get to a certain time in life and say, “Oh, I surely CAN’T do that…” or “I NEVER will do that…” or how about, I’ll “NEVER be able to do that!” I want to remove some of the CAN’TS and NEVERS from my life.
I’m in an interesting season in my life when I’m faced with several very huge challenges in front of me, and I’m not exactly sure I’m going to be able to pull them off. One of them is this ½ marathon. Another is working to complete the Pilgrim Man CD project. The third thing is a movie role I was just invited to tackle. It’s going to challenge me to act at a level I’ve never had the opportunity to approach before now. And right now, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do it. I think maybe I can…but I’m not sure. The half marathon? I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it without taking half a day. Or without passing out. Or wimping out. And the CD project is forcing me to take my creativity and my passion to a whole other level. My goal: create a CD that only Mark Smeby could create. Anybody can make a CD, but nobody else could ever make a Mark Smeby CD. I think I can do this…but I’m not sure.
And honestly, with each of these three challenges, it doesn’t matter if I “pull them off” or not. Because I’m living the life I want to live, and that means going after things that appear difficult, or maybe even impossible…or maybe even unreasonable.
And what I’m experiencing is incredible joy and satisfaction along the way. There are moments where a new song will come together and surprise me with its beauty. There are times when I remember all the hundreds of other acting challenges I’ve had in my lifetime, and how this new one is simply the “next” one. And with the running, while my face is red and my ankles a bit wobbly, I feel like I just won something this morning by tackling my first 5K…even without a crowd cheering me on—just a dog waiting to lick some of the sweat off my palms.
I’m feeling the brevity of life. A greater desire to squeeze life for all it’s worth. Enough sitting around and waiting for my life to happen. Or spending my time wishing the past would magically change and turn me into some kind of better, more well adjusted person.
It’s my chance today to become the person I want to become, and live the life I want to live. And the life I want to live is filled with nearly impossible challenges, but is being met with deeper satisfaction and joy than I ever dreamed possible.
“Don’t give up. Though the road may be long, and the journey hard. You are not alone.”