Musings of a meandering mind (while on the treadmill)!
I woke up this morning 30 minutes before my alarm. It is Tet, so I thought I would start the year with a healthy habit - a fun run on the treadmill. I know there are some people who find running to be a necessary chore to maintain their health. But for me, I genuinely enjoy the act of running. The feeling of my heart pounding, my legs and arms moving in sync, deep inhale through my nose, quick exhale through my mouth, music blasting in my ears - every second is exhilarating and actively brings me joy.
As I was relishing my 15 minutes on the treadmill, I thought about a recent interview I had with Chi Nguyen (The Present Writer), where she said, we should enjoy the forward movement. Enjoy the movement, for the sake of the movement, and not for the destination. And at that moment, it hit me. I finally understood, with my heart, and not just my mind. Because running on a treadmill… there is no destination - I am not going anywhere! Which to some, is the reason why running on a treadmill is ridiculous and a waste of time. And I see their point. I could never fully explain why I like running on a treadmill, I just do - I just enjoy the motion of running, of moving forward.
And to me, this translated into my life and career through the need for constant work and promotions. In my younger years, every day was a stepping stone. Every late night, every extra project, was a forward step toward some magical promotion that would somehow transform me into a “successful person”. Which brought to mind a conversation I had with Calvin Lam. He is someone I admire and often seek for advice, like a big brother. And he told me that when he was 23, he decided that he could not work in a corporate job anymore. So he quit. And it took him 3 years before he found the next step in his career. 3 years! To me, that would be 3 lifetimes - I could never imagine 3 years without forward movement in my career.
But as my feet continued its rhythmic left-right, left-right on the treadmill, I realized - it’s not the destination! I am going nowhere on this treadmill, and yet I feel like I am going everywhere on this treadmill. Calvin spent 3 years moving forward in finding himself, finding the treadmill that would actively bring him joy every day. He went on to build one of the largest technology distribution companies in the US. Sometimes, forward movement does not have to be measured in LinkedIn bullets. Sometimes, you just have to trust that your inner self is moving forward.
10 minutes on the treadmill. Only another 5 minutes - so I can be sure to get home before the kids wake up. Which made me think of the little one. She is 3 years old, and in the past year, she has gotten hand-foot-and-mouth disease twice. It is a pretty light sickness transmitted through touch - when kids touch each other, and when they touch the same toys. I jokingly call it an “STD” - socially transmitted disease. :D
That one is all about forward motion. No fear - she enters every room head first, with a big smile (in the picture above, she was smiling until she ran head first into a mirror. Lesson: don’t run head first into a mirror maze, haha!). “What’s your name?” And immediately, everyone is “my friend”. Through her, I see the human instinct for movement. She usually runs far enough ahead to make sure we cannot catch her, then she would stop to wait. No particular destination, just moving forward for the sake of moving forward.
We are hard-wired to explore, pre-determined to move forward. As we get older, and we bang our heads on enough unforeseen walls, we start to become wary, more cautious. And sometimes, that translates to fear that we describe on our manicured slides as “risk-adjusted decisions” - or put more simply, “that’s never going to work, so don’t even waste your time”. We need to remind ourselves to embrace uncertainty. The unknown is actually what makes every step interesting and exciting.
As I think about this upcoming year, of course I am going to set goals - there has to be a destination! But one of the new goals will also be to enjoy every day - or maybe a “happiness conversion ratio” of 90% :)
Đồng hồ bấm giờ đưa Linh ra khỏi giấc mộng đẹp - 15 phút dành cho Linh đã hết. Khi Linh đi bộ về nhà, cơ thể mình cảm thấy tràn đầy năng lượng và sẵn sàng cho sự hối hả và nhộn nhịp trong ngày. Chuyển động về phía trước - một chân đi trước chân kia - chỉ cần tận hưởng mọi thứ, đơn giản là vì ta đang làm nó.
✨Happy lunar new year!✨