I made a list of goals (as I do at the end of every year) that I’ve been working on. I’ve been fortunate enough to complete two of these goals during my trip to Florida. Yeah, the place where I know I would never live, but my father does live near Orlando so trips to this state have to happen. What made it even better for me was that the ACUI Conference I was scheduled to attend basically made my travel plans much easier.
So just like that the first goal was already done. I wanted to visit my dad and step mother because it had been almost 5 years since I’ve been there and that is just totally unacceptable. Sure, I’ve seen them in NYC and even in the Dominican Republic, but I knew early on last year when I heard about this conference location that I was going to make it my business to visit family.
However, the other goal was for me to run a 5k at some point this year. In my head, I wanted to do this before I hit 40 in June. I circled April 9th on the calendar because I knew that the ACUI Fund Run would be that opportunity. The thing is, I know myself. I know that it wouldn’t take much for me to back out which is why I told no one that I was running this race. I signed up for this race last year in St. Louis but I backed out because sleep was my friend.
So, I knew in December I was going to try to do this. I did the best I could, in this cold ass winter that we had, to run and prepare. Of course, what discouraged me is that I would have to get up at like 5:30am on the day of the race so I can be up and ready to register at 6am. Despite the several beers I had the night previous and going to bed around 3am, I managed to get my ass up to run this race. How did I do it? Let me tell you a little story about that.
When you go to a conference, you should be personally challenged. You should be able to meet new people and rekindle old and existing professional relationships. I was on a panel the first day of the conference called Men of Color: Retention in the Profession. It was in that session that a fellow colleague sitting on the panel with me, Hayden Greene said, “You need to be a participant in the environment in which you want to thrive.” Those were very powerful words for me at the time because if there was any doubt on whether I needed to give myself to every part of this conference, it was gone at that moment. The 5k wasn’t just about me it was about being a part of something larger and like most conferences, these activities are there to help you get to your desired position in life.
So at any point if I felt socially inept, I thought about that one quote and when that alarm went off at 5:30am, I got up without hitting the snooze. I dragged myself down there with my Barnard sweatshirt prepared to run my legs off. The amazing thing about all of this was that there were so many people that were up that morning ready to do the struggle along with me through this course. Luckly, when the race began, I was able to latch on to a friend that I met two years ago in Boston and we pushed each other because after the first mile, I was ready to go back to bed.
So less than 40 minutes later (39:27 to be exact, because you know I just had to time myself), I managed to cross the finish line. No one there, except my buddy Jaime, knew how much of an accomplishment this was for me. That 5k represents all the things that I said I would do that I finally did. It made me think about this novel and how of a long road it’s been. It made me think about all the goals I have yet to accomplish. I can and will finish what I set out to do. It may just take me longer than I thought.