Thursday, February 21, 2013

Post-doctoral cramps

This must be what marathon winners must feel like.
You run and you run and you run some more. Things stop making sense, yet you persevere, knowing you will reach the end. You ignore the pain, you ignore the losses, you ignore your body.
For, somewhere beyond the horizon, somewhere beyond the pain, is a terminus, an end, a reception.

Your friends will be there, there will be food and joy and fun.
Your family will be there, to mark your achievement.

You will cross the barrier. A barrier that awaits those who thought they might one day try it, who believe that if they want they can do it, no problem. You feel pride, and you are being arrogant. Yet these thoughts are in the background, getting drown and lost in the moments of pain and work that remain.

And suddenly, when it has been hours and days and eternities since you thought "feh, I will never make it", yet you still carry on, the finish line is there at the horizon. Not behind it anymore, but at the horizon. You can see it.

You run, you stumble and gather the remaining forces you do not really have, to finish in beauty.
Last hurdle.
The last of the last hurdles.

You get there, and you are greeted by the people that you thought were just watching you run.

You realize they were not leisurely watching you, but actually they were running their own marathons. But still.

The elation is there. It is an ending. You celebrate. Your body is full of endorphins to dull the pain. So you celebrate.

And the next day, the pain starts.
And worse than the pain, the realization.

There is no more finish line beyond the horizon. You are free.
There is no more finish line anywhere. You are lost.

Your body knows only how to run. So you keep running blindly towards goals that people haphazardly suggest.

Time to find a new finish line and a new one after that and so on and so forth...

Yet even as you think these thoughts that spring from your ever forwards-propelling momentum;
even as you try to keep the meaninglessness of it all at bay by trying to find a new activity to obfuscate your worries;
even then, your mind wanders and wonders and dances with craziness:

Risking and losing yourself in love, in a simpler life, in a different path or sport or occupation, in different values and dreams.

But the end of the running period is always linked to those dreams.
The running soon resumes and propels you back to the land of the waking.
I am still unsure whether to be grateful or not for this.

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