Take It All In

The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy”. Albert Camus

All good things come to an end, they say… Who are “they”?

I write this on the 10hr flight from Honolulu to Sydney before my connecting flight back to Melbourne.

Yes, my holiday in the sunshine of California and Hawaii is ending, but does anything really ever end?

It makes me think about other adventures I’ve had in my life. Without exception, every experience I’ve had that I enjoyed, I’ve later realized that the build up and the execution of it were worth more than the finish line or the reward at the end.

For example, in 2008 I ran 375km over 5 days from Melbourne to my hometown of Portland, to raise money for Cancer research. This was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, not because I made it to the end, but because of the countless happenings that occurred along the way. From the dozens of people that put their hands up to help me with the fundraising, to the pages of support emails I received, the $20k+ that we raised, but mostly for the hours and minutes and seconds that I shared on that road with my family and friends. For me, the finish line was bittersweet because it marked the end of a time that was so precious to me. A time that still is so precious to me.

So perhaps good things don’t come to an end? As long as we can remember them and continue to relive the moments and feelings and the sensations that we had, then perhaps they can continue to fulfill us indefinitely.

On previous holidays, I’ve spent the last few days of the trip dreading the end. Now, I don’t think about it too much at all. I just try to soak up those last moments and commit them to my mind.

On the run to Portland, I finished each day with an all out sprint to the end of that stage. In fact, I ran harder when there was a head wind, when it was raining and when going up hills. My goal was to burn the experience into my mind forever. I wasn’t racing anyone or even trying to beat the clock, so there was no need to save anything in the tank. Each day ended with the tank being emptied, and in hindsight it was the best and the only way to do it.

So, with a little over an hour left before I step back onto Australian soil, I don’t think of what is ending, but of the waterfall I sat at the bottom of on the North Shore of Oahu and the waves I shared with my oldest son at Waikiki beach, and the multitude of other moments that are now part of me.

The old saying that it’s the journey, not the destination that matters is so true. We have the ability to make every day a journey, just be sure to take it all in as you go.

Run long,

Shaun Brewster.


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