Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Never Grow Up, Never Grow Old

when i was just a little gaffer, i had a paper route. impressively, i delivered those bitches every saturday for four. fucking. years. it was brutal. not the deliveries, so much, but the rag i was charged with hoisting around the block every weekend is actually a free publication that is really a delivery mechanism for a stack of flyers and coupons. people who "subscribe" to this paper actually have no interest in the poorly written and uninteresting content, they just want their flyers. and when i was a kid (and i believe their system has not changed at all), i had to stuff the papers with the flyers before i delivered them. this sounds like it isnt a big deal, but there were anywhere from 5 to 10 different flyers that had to be stuffed, and they didnt come in prearranged piles. so, you had to take out the flyers and line them all up and then collate them by hand and THEN stuff them in the papers. then i had to load them into my red wagon and start my deliveries. this horrible process basically ruined my saturday every week for four years. if memory serves me, i think i also had deliveries on wednesday nights, but there werent as many flyers on wednesdays so it wasnt as big of a deal. anyway, the reason i am telling you all this is because all of this had a great impact on my life. not only did it incite a great hatred of child labour in me, it has also affected the way that i think about and approach life's little challenges.
you see, when i was delivering the papers (all 26 of them, which seemed at the time like a lot) i would motivate myself by setting small goals. i would think, 'ok, i just need to get to the next telephone pole,' and then i would get there and think, 'ok now i just have to get to the house beside the telephone pole,' and then i would say, 'now i just need to get to that bush' or the end of the sidewalk or the trunk of the tree or whatever, whatever, whatever. the point is, that instead of getting overwhelmed by the daunting size of my whole entire paper route and how long it would take me to do it, (keep in mind, my only company was my cat, who would follow me 3/4 of the way and then go back home when we were at the house behind our house) i would just look ahead to the nearest possible check point and just focus on getting to that. most of these little stops along the way were only like, 5m apart from one another, but thats what got me through all of those winters and rainfalls and boring afternoons.
i have applied this same approach to many other things in my life, most recently to my running training, which generally sucks big ones. instead of thinking about the total distance or time that i am trying to do in a given workout, i just think 'i just have to get to the end of this song' or 'i just have to go for thirty more seconds' or 10% of a mile, or whatever, whatever, whatever. and these small distractions are enough to get me through this and all of lifes little obstacles, and i came up with that strategy when i was eight. years. old.

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