Jogging After the Fireball

My grad school professor, in describing my laid-back ambition said it was as if a fireball were blazing down the street and there I am jogging gingerly after it, big dopey smile on my face, looking around at the sidelines.

I think of this jogging metaphor often.

It’s widely believed that sprinting is better than jogging. You get there more quickly, which means you can move on to the next thing more quickly, which means you get more done, more quickly.

All true, but there is a problem with this thinking.

When you’re sprinting, you focus on the finish line. You miss out on the buildings and the trees going by. You miss the woman standing in her doorway watering plants. If running fast is the goal and you’re not looking around, you may miss the shadowy alleyway that cuts through the block, and gets you where you’re going more quickly.

You miss all these things. Your life becomes a series of finish lines, met and unmet. Everything else falls away.

With jogging, you get the finish line, but you also get the wind, the shortcuts, the city, and the kind, lovely people cheering you on.