Any kind of creative activity is likely to be stressful. The more anxiety, the more you feel that you are headed in the right direction. Easiness, relaxation, comfort – these are not conditions that usually accompany serious work.
–Joyce Carol Oates
Just take out “creative” and insert “physical”, in other words: running.
I think most of us, myself included, want running to feel easy. It can, of course, if you just go out there and don’t worry about pace, don’t worry about distance, don’t pay attention to the huffing and puffing if you do worry about pace and/or distance.
The truth is we want to just step out our door, be able to go fast, and have it feel effortless. If it were effortless, though, would we feel that we had earned it? Would it be as satisfying?
I don’t think it would. There is something very satisfying about hard work. In the words of Tom Hanks’ character in “A League of Our Own”, the hard is what makes it great.
There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
— William Shakespeare
One of my favorite quotes. And still so true. I can allow myself to feel frustrated by my lack of speed (and yes, of course, sometimes I absolutely do), or I can realize that I can run. I can put in the hard work. And hopefully, someday, that hard work will be rewarded.
Even if I never get faster, even if I slow down as I get older, my plan is to never stop running. It’s one of the first things I turn to in stressful times. It used to be food, but now I’d much rather get out for a run when I’m stressed than eat too much sugar which will only make me hungrier and feel sluggish and ultimately even more frustrated with myself.
Stress in our lives makes us work harder, try harder, and oftentimes, it makes us surprise ourselves.