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Will Hicock Low:
Foremost in the Envious Race (1885)

" … Traveling hopefully, if never fully arriving."

I never was exceptionally skilled at PacingMyself. My eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, my aspirations greater than my capabilities. These tendencies combine to render me a much better dreamer than a manifester. As a writer, dreaming might be indistinguishable from manifesting, so I might have chosen my profession well. However, I suspect that my work chose me rather than the other way around. However I've found my way here, I am well familiar with exceeding my limits, with hurting myself. I expect more of myself than later seems reasonable, and I suspect I remain relatively immature in that respect. I might have imagined learning over time more precisely where my limits lie, but I have failed to assimilate this sort of knowledge.

Fortunately for me, my subconscious tends to be watching out for me.
It hobbles my progress when I fail to notice where some limit lies. I start hopeful rather than watchful and find myself over-stretched before I notice. Then I begin recovering, only after first exceeding what I might have seen as my reasonable limit. I tell myself just a few minutes more, just before I give myself an epic charley-horse. I limp my way home, where I slip into recovery. A day or two of rest comes unrequested but demanded, and I'm loaded up and ready to rain some fresh excess on myself. I think of myself as a chivalric knight-errant off on a noble mission, though I'm more likely off to try to finish some long-procrastinated chore. Had I engaged before it required epic intervention, I might have avoided overwhelming myself. I often limp back to the stables.

I seem to be temperamentally unable to chart more modest courses. As a result, I often disappoint myself. Had I managed to moderate my target, I might have sidestepped the shortfall, but I rarely feel satisfied with less than the very excess, which ultimately keeps me in check. The purpose of life might not have ever been to avoid disappointing myself. Quite the contrary, the purpose might ultimately be the disappointment, the grand scheme followed by the denouement, the humbling acknowledgment following the over-involvement, the grounding following the flight. The following unraveling does not erase the memory of the unbridled aspiring. Better to dream big and fail than to never dream anything at all.

The weather report predicted that it would be too hot to Canvass, but I put on my Panama fedora and started on my rounds. I swear that I could not find half the houses on the route; the neighborhood apparently not really into the whole house number convention. The road was dusty, and the distances longer than I'd imagined. I stumbled back to near the beginning about an hour later, feeling drained. I realized that in my passion, I'd forgotten lunch again. The Muse and I fortified ourselves, but after lunch, we both realized that we were just too tired to continue, even though the election draws ever nearer and our campaigning won't do itself. There are limits, I thought to myself, even if I never seem to accurately predict them. Fortunately, my body reminds me after I've exceeded my limits. We limped home, feeling as though we were playing hooky.

I imagine some routinely recognize their limits. I do not envy their capability, for I've come to understand that I'd rather not know. I do not aspire to live a well-regulated life, however attractive it might seem when I feel exhausted. I seem to need the mystery I probably should have already figured out. I engage hopefully before rediscovering my edges. I do not pay close attention to where they lay, perhaps because I'm not trying to relive yesterday. I'm still heading in the general direction of tomorrow, traveling hopefully, if never fully arriving. My body seems to know when I've exceeded my limits, even if the rest of me remains oblivious. I sometimes crawl home dragging my intentions behind me, but I've always managed to head out again the next day or the day after, even if I still seem to suck at PacingMyself.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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