When we were making the trip between Nana and Grandpa’s house and ours way back when, Dad would often coast. He would go as fast as he dared through the back roads accelerating up hills so that he could put the car in neutral and coast down the other side. We thought it was the bees knees. We would laugh and laugh. Then, we would coast as far as our car would take us; sometimes back up some pretty tough hills where we would zoom back down the other side again gaining back any momentum we lost.
I was out for a run today (I like to tell you about those because I know it makes it seem like I exercise more frequently than I actually do.) and those coasting moments really struck me. I was struggling up a hill when I remembered that no matter how tough going up is, I know I will get a reprieve once I reach the top and can ‘coast’ down the other side. This thought process often allows me to run farther than I anticipate being able to.
I think it’s time I start coasting through life. I have been hitting some rough patches of growth lately. Thinking about this coasting pattern, what I have recognized is that I will hit the ground running with all of me up the steep hill of challenges. I use my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic strength to reach the top. Good, that’s good. That’s important to be able to reach the top. Once I reach the top, I definitely take a moment to enjoy the reprieve. The thing is I don’t enjoy it for long. I think, “ooo, I am on the downhill. Everything is feeling a little easier, let me go full steam ahead and see how far I can push.” Now, going back to my previous examples, how do you think that works for me? In running, I am not able to run as far as I would have if I had just kept a nice steady pace after my reprieve. As far as coasting in a car, until I put that car back in drive, the engine will just rev high. Once I have put it back in drive, think of the momentum I will lose having to shift it back. Come to think of it, why would I have bothered coasting if I was just going to shift it back in to drive anyway without using the maximum gas saving/fun having moment?
So, there I go, using up all of my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and energetic strength pushing myself against all odds. It’s not going to get me any further any faster. Instead, I burn out and don’t have the energy for my next steep challenge. I stare up that hill wondering what happened? I berate myself for doing life wrong. I spiral down this slippery slope of self sabotage sliding further and further from the reprieve of the summit.
Thankfully, sometimes recognition is all we need. I recognize this pattern now. I see a pathway to change. I see that the new path is filled with ease and grace. I don’t have to try so hard. All I have to do is coast.