#46 The Stop Sign

Today I started my mornings like most. I was up at 5:30 am, washed up, strapped my ankle brace on, laced up my almost lifeless Puma’s, and set foot for Golden Gate Park.

It’s become a favorite destination of mine. Now that I live only a few blocks from it, it has become a welcomed respite from the day to day monotony of the city grind.

On the way back from the run I decided to take 32nd Avenue home. It lies on a steep hill as do most streets in San Francisco, CA.

Even though I was tired, I decided to use whatever energy I had left to run the rest of the way home. While I was going up the hill, I focused on a STOP sign as a focal point.

I had tunnel vision and the right music playing. It was just what I needed to get through this last hurdle. The higher I went up, the steeper the hill got, and the larger the STOP sign became.

I felt like passing out. I was running on empty and wanted to quit. After all, it would be easy. No one is watching, it’s just me. I ignored what I felt biologically and ensued with the run.

When the STOP sign was about 100 feet away, I really wanted to quit. My legs were giving out, but something amazing happened in the next 10–15 seconds.

As soon as I crossed the STOP sign, the hill immediately descended. I wasn’t so much running as I was moving my legs to downward momentum. I was coasting and even saw the Golden Gate Bridge.

This got me thinking

I started to think about the STOP sign, how it got bigger when the hill was at its peak, and how immediately after crossing it, the run became easy.

I wonder how many times in our life we listen to the STOP sign in our mind and don’t push any further. Things become glaringly apparent the more I understand myself, my work, and what I want to leave behind in this world.

The line between pain and pleasure is a thin one. The hardships in our life is the pain. It’s the going up the hill and wanting to quit. Conversely, the pleasure is getting to the peak, taking your breath, being happy with what you accomplished, and enjoying the far easier run down the hill.

We all have some choices in life. How hard we push to get to what we want is one of them.

I feel the STOP sign is a form of resistance but what lies beyond is a gift for those that persevere anyway. I intend to and hope you do as well.

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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