Why Do We Run Marathons?

Alan Asnen
Dec 8, 2019 · 3 min read

Why do we do anything?

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Photo by Candra Winata on Unsplash

Toni Morrison and countless others counsel us about the nature of emotional intelligence and emotional maturity, that it is something not easy to come by. It is a struggle, for just about all of us.

I know this very well myself. I still struggle at times. But it is worth making the effort. Unto death if necessary. It is a marathon.

Imagine you are an adjunct teacher of political science at some community college, the best position you could find these days under current conditions with your master’s degree. During one class, your dean walks into the room and announces that you are being replaced.

She says your replacement is unqualified by traditional standards but has been discussing politics on Facebook, based upon what he has learned from FoxNews for almost five years and, in his own opinion, therefore, is qualified to teach your class. As far as the dean is concerned, this is quite good enough. Plus, he is asking far less in pay and benefits.

The degree you worked so hard for is now, in effect, useless. The job you needed to feed your family is gone.

Why do people run marathons, climb mountains, workout in gyms, lift weights? To prove something to others or to themselves? Is it always narcissism, competitiveness, one-upsmanship? Elitism? Or is it the quest to become a better self?

Why denigrate people for running marathons, climbing mountains, lifting weights, going to the gym, simply because some do not choose to do so or cannot for some reason? Or because someone can only run 100 yards while others run 20 miles.

Why do people go to the trouble of taking years out of their lives, going into debt to acquire advanced degrees? Narcissism? Elitism?

Does anyone need an advanced degree, or any degree at all, to do anything? Is it actually required in order for anyone to accomplish anything?

Except in the mind of the person doing it. For the purposes of the person doing it, for their own personal goals.

So, why denigrate them for such accomplishments? Why do this for the sake of “uplifting” others?

Does this constitute some sort of “encouragement” while disparaging others?

It applies beyond logic, as well.

Continue thinking there is no need to accomplish what is needed for anyone as a writer: to be as good a writer as one would wish to accomplish one’s goals; continue denigrating those who have striven to be better at what they do and it will only drag down everyone around.

We stand upon the shoulders of giants, all of us. To ignore them is a sin and a tragedy. Truly, there is no magic in achieving anything in this life. It is all a matter of hard work. And even that can be taken away, quite easily.

Anyone who runs know this. Anyone who takes writing seriously knows this.

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else…

Alan Asnen

Written by

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here.

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

Alan Asnen

Written by

Possessor of Paul Newman eyes. Author of many things straightforward and strange. Some of them appear here.

The Partnered Pen

MPP friends writing about life, love, and everything else in between together.

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