On Running and Finance
Today’s guest post is a great poem by Mario over at Debt Blag. He writes about running, finance, travel, and red panda. Enjoy!
I slow to a shuffle upon meeting my first red light of the morning, giving rise to a trickle of on-ramp traffic, bringing me to a stop just before hitting Adam Yauch Park. I think to switch to a Beastie Boys song, but pocket my earbuds instead. Standing still for the first time, I feel the sweat forming across my brow and chest and get the briefest chill as I eyeball a straggler — he’s not going to make his light — take a deep breath, and then I run some more.
Running is the simplest of exercises, but its complexities hide among its details. Is it any wonder, then, that so many of the tinkerers and hustlers that make up the cadre of personal finance bloggers also count running among their hobbies? Personal finance similarly appears simple on its surface — buy less stuff and you’ll have more to save or invest. But like running, these simple mechanics — along with anything you might learn in a book — are mere starting points; real progress only comes by eschewing shortcuts in favor of doing the hard stuff to learn what works for you, mile by mile.
I start up again slowly, but pick up the pace as the East River comes into view, as if to make up for lost time. Running now without distraction, I can feel my carriage pressing forward, my leg muscles tighten and relax, and my ankles adjust as the asphalt of the streets becomes the concrete of the piers. My mind too relaxes, sifting through the day’s goals and yesterday’s disappointments, and making peace with them. I don’t meditate nor even do yoga, but know that this is as decompressed as I could be all day. My mind wanders to my budget and I remember that running too must be budgeted in amid time obligations to family, friends, work, and sleep, and weighed against long-term goals, and sacrificed for.
I’m nearly at a sprint when I reach the edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park as the whole of the Manhattan skyline comes into view. The city seems softer than normal bathed in the dawn sun and muted at this distance, but nevertheless reminds me that I have work to do and big loans to pay. But in the morning quiet, I can also hear my heart beating strongly; it tells me that I’m not done yet.
And then I run some more.