In 2009, I had 2 big personal accomplishments, about which you are probably sick of reading. The first was enrolling in Sketch writing classes at ImprovBoston. The second was running the Providence Marathon.
The former, writing class, had a clear outcome from the beginning: Level 1 to begin writing and getting my ideas on paper; Level 2 to hone my skills, explore different types of sketches; Level 3, work with classmates to write, cast, and produce a show. The latter, the marathon, was much more open-ended: I could run the Providence Marathon again; I could run the Boston Marathon; I could focus on improving my speed on shorter races.
I did both of these things for me. They were personal accomplishments. I began writing class alone, and though I have made new friends in the class, it will remain a personal accomplishment when all is said and done, and has hopefully gone well. I began training for the marathon because I was inspired by my friends who were mentoring a group of high school students. Although I trained with them a couple times, and ran the race alongside them, I ran my own race and finished before the rest of the group.
I am definitely taking Level 3 this winter, on Saturday afternoons. I want to run with team Dreamfar in Providence in 2010, which involves early morning runs on Saturdays. The first roadblock in my mind is that runs may interfere with class. I realized that this will probably only happen a few times, if ever. The second roadblock was the thought that if I do run, I will be running as a pace group leader. I won't be running the race for me. I won't be trying to improve on my time from last year. It won't be my own race. I thought to myself if I would be all right with that.
Quickly, I figured it out. Was I any less proud of my friends who finished after me? Was I less proud of the students who finished after me, including one who had lost his mother just days before? Was I less proud of the kid who was told to stop trying because his body seized, but he wanted to finish, even if walking? Was I less proud of the girl who was the very last person to finish the race, after the finish line had been deconstructed and whose finish line was composed of her family, friends, and fellow runners?
No. That is what I remember most, more than my own run. I was proud of myself, but I was more proud of each one of those people. I can't imagine the pride my friends felt after mentoring those students for months. I want to be part of that, more than I was this year.
In 2010, I will be writing for and acting in my first comedy show. That is for me. I will also be training for a marathon. That will be for others. It won't be for personal gain or accomplishment, but somehow I think it will be more than worth it. I can't help if it still leads to personal growth.
March 19, 2010 SketchHaus
May 2, 2010 Providence Marathon