When you are trying to get pregnant (which I’m not) you have a sudden awareness of time and space and of the space between time. Say, for example, you are trying to time your pregnancy so that you have a baby who is at least a few months old when you start graduate school in just over a year. There is a window of opportunity and every month that you don’t get pregnant you think, “If I don’t get pregnant this month, we may have to wait until I’m finished with grad school.” And you start to freak out a little. You also think, “Why am I not getting pregnant? Are we infertile? What if we can never have a baby?” And you start to freak out a little. Because it’s not like: Oh well, it didn’t happen today, but it could happen tomorrow. It’s like: I can’t believe we have to wait another month! That’s so far away. The baby will be one month younger when I go to school. It is cause for all sorts of anxiety and calculations and pretty soon you find yourself thinking you’ve been trying to get pregnant for forever when really it’s just been one month.
I’m sure there are many, many, many things in life like that. Things that make you suddenly aware of your age, that make the world seem very narrow. That thing, right now, for us, is qualifying for Boston. We really really really want to qualify for Boston this year. We’ve been planning to try it for a while now, but it wasn’t until this weekend that we hammered out some of the details. As in, we figured out which marathons we’re going to run to try to qualify. It was kind of disheartening. We needed Saturday races, one in the spring, one in the fall, close to where we live, and certified by the USATF. It turned out to be a tall order, and the more marathons that were eliminated, the more it felt like our window of opportunity was getting smaller and smaller and maybe we’d never really have the chance to qualify before we were old and decrepit and aged our way into the qualifying times.
And then something happens to broaden your worldview again. You realize that it might be possible to have a baby while you are in grad school, which you’d never really thought of before. Or you remember that you are actually pretty young and it’s not too late in the game for you to keep getting faster. Or that marathon training might, in fact, get easier as the kids get older. Which is to say, even if we miss our opportunity this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t run faster next year, or the next, or the next. Boston will always be there. And if we qualify this year, maybe we won’t be so anxious about it next time around. Maybe we’ll pencil it into our calendar every April. Or maybe maybe we’ll space trying to qualify to every 2 or 3 years. Or even 4.