If running has brought anything unquantifiable and worthwhile to my life, it has brought the knowledge of what it feels like to push through difficulties to reach something that I know I want.
There are several parts to that, the first being the end: something that I know I want. When I ran near the finish line of the marathon around mile 16 (because of the race's strange set up over the last half), I had zero desire to turn in a half marathon time instead of a full because I wanted the full marathon. I wanted to run and finish it so badly that I gleefully kept going. The second part of it is that I had never really before felt the satisfaction of pushing through something to get somewhere I knew I wanted to be. As proud of myself as I was to graduate from college, it was (almost) a given. I did struggle with things during those four years, and there were challenges to face, but somehow it was different.
This is one of the reasons that has kept me running. I want to keep that feeling alive, I want to keep building my mileage, although at this point it is rebuilding, and I want to keep reaching those goals.
Now, though, I want more. I want to have that feeling in my life. I want to discover a goal, go and do the work to achieve it, and then achieve it. Whether this needs to happen in my work or in some outside activity, I'm not sure.
Where does running fit into this heavy question of what to do? It is, hopefully, a catalyst that will place the big picture into perspective.