My track coach taught me to keep my gaze fixed on my lane, no more than six feet in front of me. He said, “Don’t expend energy assessing your competitors’ positions. Stick to what you need to do to run your best race.”
During this year-long pandemic, Coach’s advice has helped center my focus on the daily routines and rituals rather than the circumstances I cannot control. The overwhelming sense of loss has been devastating, and while I allowed myself to grieve the early losses: the milestones that would not come to fruition, the lives who were no longer with us, and the day-to-day human connections — were now too unbearable to process. I heeded Coach’s words, found my lane, fixed eyes six feet ahead, and remained in that stance for twelve months. My psychological survival mode.
But this week, something changed. I caught myself peeking into the other lane. The sun was a little warmer; voices were a little brighter; a new found energy pulsed through my body.
Hope was clearly making a move on me. I dared myself to observe her optimistic stride, all confident and nimble, before returning my attention back to my lane, blinders on, eyes straight ahead.
I know Coach would want me to run my own race: mask up, socially distance, wash hands. “Don’t fall for false Hopes,” he would warn. But I can’t help but dream that the finish line to this nightmare race is just around the curve.