I received a letter in response to my column about a woman considering becoming a single parent, reminding me that people who have not had children need to spend time with kids to see if they really want to commit many years of their lives raising them. I think this is an important notion since there are many people who love the idea of children, but are annoyed by the reality of them.
Children are messy, self-centered, dirty creatures who never listen or do what they are told. Children also provoke more love and tenderness than you will ever feel at any other time. As the mother of two, I can tell you all the reasons why you should never have children. And all the reasons why you should. But, my reader is right, if you are considering having children, borrow a friend or relative’s child and see what this parenting thing is really like.
The second part of my column is about a very different topic. I had shared with you that I was training to compete in a marathon. Well, I did it! I completed the Orange County Marathon in January. To paint the whole picture, I was injured about 3 months ago and have not really recovered yet. I was only able to run 6 ½ miles. I walked the rest. It took me 7 ½ hours until I crossed that finish line.
For the first couple of days after, while I was recovering from the experience, I had thoughts like “Well, this didn’t count because I walked most of it.” Then I stopped myself, and thought, “What am I talking about? I completed 26.2 miles!! That is something to celebrate!”
How many times do we not celebrate something because our expectations do not match our finished product? I had seen myself running that marathon and crossing the finish line at a good clip. That is not what happened. But I did cross the finish line, which was my goal. I did accomplish what I set out to do. There was a great deal to celebrate!
The message from both parts of today’s column is that we need to have realistic expectations and the ability to enjoy what life gives us, even if it doesn’t always fit the “perfect picture”.
Enjoy the journey.