A Life Lesson from the Peachtree Road Race

Sometimes I struggle with the tension between enjoying life and conquering it. It is a battle between satisfaction and achievement. The two are in the same family, yet different. They can live in harmony but often compete. 

Last week’s Peachtree Road Race is a prime example. My wife, our daughter and I all ran. We are opposites in many ways, and this “race” was a microcosm of some of those differences. My goal was to conquer - to cover the 6.2 miles from Lenox Square to Piedmont Park as quickly as my legs and training would carry me. Their goal was to have as much fun as possible along the way. I was focused on the next hill and constantly checking my pace while they were looking for the next high five and the best location for patriotic selfies. We each accomplished our goals, but along the way I decided from here on out I’m running with them.

Why the change? It’s not that life is all about having fun, or that I don’t like to train or feel satisfied in physical accomplishments. And it’s not that I’ve lost my competitive edge. None of those things are true. I'm running with the family next year partly because I don't like the kind of guys my daughter is meeting along the course (see picture above). Actually, the change is because part of life should be about having fun and not worrying about goals. But since it will provide some consolation, at next year’s race I will probably make it a goal to have fun and attach some high five metrics to the experience.

There is a time for everything. A time for fun and a time to run. A time to grind it out and a time to wind it down. Running and fun don’t always go together. Neither do grinding out and winding down.

Where do you fall on the enjoy life / conquer life spectrum? If you lean toward fun, what can you do to add some structure and challenge to life? If your tendency is to plow forward, looking for the next hill to climb, how can you slow down and enjoy the journey?

I’d love to hear how you are finding balance?