“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive then in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree.”
– What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami
Recently, the passion I had for writing has waned. The focus and determination I had to be a good writer, one who was concise and engaging, has taken a backseat because I had been so wrapped up on my personal life these last couple of months.
As a side tangent, I have been so wrapped up with my personal life because what has been happening these last couple of months have been nothing but firsts. Firsts I had been swept away (or more like tornado’d) by and just living in present moments after moments because it is the only way to live. However, the uncertainty of it all despite my happiness, has consumed me.
I would write more about this descent into what is really and honestly a trivial matter – one that I can easily remedy if I stopped feeling so inadequate – but that aspect of my personal life must be kept private because it must only be dealt with between the parties involved. It would be childish to write a public diary.
So here is a reminder to myself about why I want to be a writer, particularly an editor or journalist.
It’s really quite simple.
Everyone and everything has a story. I remember the first stories I drowned myself in were the lives of gymnasts and figure skaters. I wanted to be Dominique Moceanu and Michelle Kwan. I devoured their biographies, learning every detail – where they trained, how long they trained, their workout routines, the food they ate, and the competitions they took part in. I was also obsessed with ages and dates – when did she start first start her training, how old was she when she received her first medal, etc.
In a way, even though I had no intention of being a figure skater or gymnast (though I will digress, when I was 10-11 years old, I took figure skating lessons and was so fixated on the idea that I could potentially be in the Olympics. Alas, that obviously didn’t pan out), I enjoyed learning their stories and trajectories.
No trajectory is the same. The stories that especially get me excited are the ones that are unconventional. An art history major who became a digital/social media marketing pioneer. The human rights lawyer who created a critically acclaimed ethical high-fashion label. The garbage man who went to medical school. The ones who fell into their present careers (they actually love) because they took chances, thought outside of the box, and worked extremely hard to get to where they are now – those are the stories I want to tell. Not the people who follow the same trajectory or career path because they thought that was what they were supposed to do whether it was because of their culture or parents. Respect for others is important, but respect for oneself is more important.
I like learning about and telling these stories because they add fuel to the fire of my own dreams and the story I am carefully crafting for myself. They are reminders that it is okay to be unconventional and not follow the path everyone else is taking. It might be hard and it might not even be successful, but I have to give it everything I could.