Which set me thinking, goals are all fine, but really what I want to aim for is to enjoy the process. As I suddenly contemplate my Ph.D., I cannot help think how it was a lot like distance running, but how it could have been more so, if I had only gotten the idea earlier.
Most of the time I was mucking around with codes and reading papers.
Usually, I am just hanging around running at any pace that gets set and any distance I feel like.
At some points, I felt exhilarated with my discoveries.
I have had, despite running only these piddly half marathon distances, enough times of genuine life clarifying moments as I run.
I very rarely followed a coherent path, a path that guaranteed success. Most of the things I did were on impulse and I did a lot of things that had no direct bearing on my thesis.
I have never trained properly, I just seem to do whatever I feel like on a given day, and am strongly influenced by goals my running mates set for themselves...
At one stage, the light was very very hard to spy in the distance. "Will I ever finish?" was the foremost thought on my mind.
That is pretty standard in even a practice run. Even today as I set my goal to run over an hour and to loop back home running, I was glancing at the traffic light at the distance (where I was going to turn right), and thinking, fuck, this is not even getting closer.
When I spied the light, it was like Splentastic (splendid+fantastic) folks, I am done! But it was only my thesis proposal....
I reached the signal finally and the mind realised I still had some distance to go, to reach home, although it was damn near.
I am not going to quit now, even if I have to crawl I will finish the distance.
On the day of my defense, and the day before, everything was surreal. I remember just that I changed out of my suit into my white shirt and jeans, and that I drank a lot.
I always drink a lot (of everything) after a long run. The white shirt is gone though, I know not where.
But all in all, it has been a success (in my mind at least) - and I am coming up to its tenth year anniversary. On average, I enjoyed the process of my Ph.D. just like I enjoy even the middle part of my long runs. If I had my life to live over, I would try to savour the moments a bit more, maybe have a penned down strategy for my thesis. Like I routinely tell myself as my legs pound, look, don't think of it as so much more to run, think of it as so much more to enjoy. And of late, I am vaguely toying with the idea of being a bit more coherent in my training. But in a sense, I do have my life to live over. As in, although not my own thesis, I have all my baccha's thesis to think about in that manner. And of course, I hope I have many more running miles to clock with my rather flat feet....