As part of my Auckland Marathon training, I’ve been trying to find timed runs to use as practice and to gauge how much I have improved. I came across Parkrun, which is an international organisation, and operates on volunteers, so is free of charge (they just ask that participants volunteer from time to time). My local one is in Cornwall Park, surrounding One Tree Hill, and is a 5km track.
They also have a newsletter, and last week there was a link to an article titled: Are We Trying Too Hard To Be Happy?
You can read the whole article here, but the gist of it was this:
“Imagine you decide that the key to your own personal happiness is to walk up a mountain. At the bottom of the climb you establish how happy you’re feeling. It’s not good, but that’s okay because this climb is going to make you feel (excuse the pun) on top of the world….
Just before you reach the top of the mountain a sense of panic sets in. You can’t help but think, ‘I should be very happy by now. Why am I not getting happier?’
By the time you summit you’ve obsessed so much about being happy, that you’re actually less happy than you were at the bottom.”
It was on-point for me. While I’m not unhappy all the time, or even most of the time anymore (yay!) I know that the reaching of goals can sometimes override the enjoyment of the journey. It is a fitting metaphor that reminds me the journey IS the goal.
This year I have been trying to focus on things I enjoy and find satisfying, and trusting that there is some sort of Greater Order: if I am doing what lights me up, then everything else will fall into place. The story from the Parkrun blog has really helped me keep this idea in perspective.