What Is Your RTC?
Each pounding of my foot on the pavement gets me a little further towards my goal, which, honestly, I haven’t even decided on. Plack, Plack. Plack, Plack. All I can hear in my ears is the slap of each shoe on the gritty trail I’m running. My heart thumps and clumps along to the music of my flight.
Out here in the woods, I can be free. I can succeed or fail without anyone ever knowing. No one sees me crying, and no one cares when I stop and stare off in the distance while my mind is a million miles away.
Plack, Plack. Plack, Plack. Each shoulder sways to the rhythm of my body, twisting my torso as I go. It’s just a rocky trail in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by thick trees and brush, and the occasional small sign to let you know you’re going the right way. But out here, there really isn’t a right way, there’s just a way. Forward.
I know that the further I run into the woods, the further I will have to run back; and so it is with ingenious punishment that I always push myself to go just a little further. But as the breath gets pulled from my lungs and returned in fewer amounts, I start to question my reasons to continue. My side hurts, directly below right rib cage- a cramp. Plack, Plack. Plack, Plack. I keep going, throwing my right arm over my head to expand my lungs and torso. Somewhere in my head I pretend that this is just The Matrix, I’m Neo, and feeling out of breathe is just a part of the software design. Why am I doing this? Just stop.
And I would stop, if it wasn’t for my Reasons To Continue.
There are a million reasons for me to quit, but none of those are easy. You see, I know that I’m going to come up with a million reasons not to go running. Because I know this, I have to have one million and one reasons to continue.
As my heart rate glides to 145, I slow down to a walk to catch my breath and wipe the sweat from my eyebrows. There’s no wind, only the blue sky with whisps of white clouds in it. A butterfly crosses my path and flutters off into the brush on my left, where there’s another 10 waiting. Ahead of me, all I can see is the gray rocky trail hugged by pines, berry bushes and tall grass.
Your Reasons To Continue need to be laid in front of you, surrounding you as you walk your life path. When your sides hurt, when you feel like you can’t breathe, that’s when your Reasons To Continue count. It’s what pushes you to keep going, it’s what makes you get up time and again, and what see through tear filled eyes as you run.
This is your life journey, and I’m not going to lie to you, there will be pain, there will be times where you are all alone out there, unsure of what the right path is. You must know that the right path, is the path forward. You must know that your reasons to continue are greater than your reasons to stop.
The journey is going to be difficult, whether you stay where you are and never move forward, or if you can find reasons within yourself to keep going. It’s going to be hard either way. But you get to decide which difficult you want, how either will benefit you, and which will leave the taste of regret on your lips or fill your heart with satisfaction.
My body relaxes as I strive forward. Walking at a faster pace, I check my watch to see I’ve made it well past my halfway point. All I can do is muster a sideways smile. I should of turned around and headed back 5 minutes ago, but all I can hear is the plack, plack of my feet as they pick up the pace. My smile broadens into a full out crazed laugh as I feel my heart rate increase; plack, plack.
My Reasons to Continue push me further into the forest, where in my minds eye, they are but right out of reach in front of me. All around me I see reasons to quit, but knowing when I do the malaise will render my muscles useless. My Reasons to Continue give the burning in my legs a purpose, the pain in my side cause, and I keep going.
No one will ever know how far I’ve come, or how hard it was for me to get there, because here, in the woods, no one else matters. You, your journey, your pain, and your Reasons to Continue are what matters. It’s your pain and your reward; your story and your legacy.
Don’t stop halfway through now, keep going. Breathe, hear the rhythm of your life pumping in your ears. Focus. Find your Reasons to Continue and don’t let go.
Plack, Plack. Plack, Plack.