Yesterday I found myself having to articulate what my mission and focus were with this blog. Needless to say it was hard work! It consumed my thoughts all day. Is this primarily a running blog? A blog about eating disorders and recovery? A “healthy living” blog (I’m not even sure I know what that means, which may be what makes it such a tempting label)? All of the above? I tried all those descriptions on for size, and I tried taking the “little bit of X, little bit of Y” approach as well. At this point, having a bit of distance from the whole thing, I’m still not sure what the best answer would have been.
Truth be told, the whole thing made me realize that for the past few months, I’ve lost my focus. I’ve kept tabs on the things that are important to me, but I’ve also let the content of the blog drift quite a bit. When I was still blogging daily, the drifting was a result of not always having a great idea about what to write on. Now that I’m blogging less frequently, it has more to do with wanting to get it right and make it count. In both cases, the focus problem is related to a more general problem: that of why I’m doing what I do.
Obviously, I’ve been thinking about this whole focus thing a lot over the past 36 or so hours, and it’s helped me to identify a few different ways in which focus (or mostly a lack thereof) has been affecting my life lately. Although I’m in the process of getting things back on track where marathon training is concerned, for a while I started freaking out because I had completely lost my sense of why I even wanted to run 26.2 miles in the first place. And what’s my focus where my recovery is concerned? Do I have a focus when it comes to yoga? Do I need one?
It’s stressful to think about some of these things, but there are cases in which it’s necessary. It’s important to know what you want to get out of something; ultimately, the way you approach a goal or a challenge is going to be dictated in large part by what your focus is, and the outcome will also depend on your focus. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, or what you hope to get out of it, you might also have to accept that your experience of it is going to be affected by that. There’s nothing wrong with that–there are things in life that deserve slow and thorough exploration. I’m going to put my yoga practice in that category. But there are also things that can really benefit from a plan of attack, a focused and concentrated effort to move toward a specific outcome. Running and blogging don’t have to fall into that category, but for my purposes right now, I’d like to put them there. At some point in the future, if and/or when I decide that I want to relax a little and think less about focus, then I’ll be sure to do that.
For now, though, it’s time for me to commit to focusing in on what’s most important. In the case of this blog, that means creating content that looks at health and fitness from a broader perspective than a lot of other sites do, and that takes a critical look at what we commonly hear about weight loss and dieting. In the case of running, it means working toward getting stronger, continuing to take care of myself, and establishing and accomplishing goals that will help me to grow both as a runner and a person. This is an opportunity for me to reconnect with the things about both writing and running that I love, and to shake off the feeling that I’m doing both these activities in order to fulfill some kind of obligation. And maybe it’s cheesy, but looking at all of it that way makes me kind of excited about it!