Running through priorities in clean sneakers
Photo by: the_curlesque
You enter the primary school made of red brick, crawl under the stairs into dark corridor, and in the last classroom on the right you find fourth class of fifth grade. Chairs are creaking over the floor. One chalk flies over school desks. “Target” screams and scratches his head. We are packing up for a physical education.
Classroom is only short hall away from our gym. There teacher Dule controls our sneakers. Yes, necessary equipment was taken very seriously. Each student had to wear on each lesson clean white T-shirt, black shorts and sneakers – with perfectly clean soles.
You cannot make the mess out of gym with sneakers in which you ran yesterday through the mud. Small stones in soles are not tolerated, not even dust. That’s why we stand in two columns (girls on the right, boys on the left) – and turn our sneakers with soles upward. Who passes control – runs to the locker room.
During these eight years (and let’s be honest, many years later) I was a real little Lisa Simpson. I was sitting in the first row, in front of the teacher. I wasn’t skipping classes. I diligently worked on my homework. The one and only time I forgot about that, it turned out that it was not obligatory to write the essay…
Thus, a nerd.
I know you’ve had one Lisa in your class. Perhaps, you can remember, how good she was in physical education…
In first grade I was the shortest and smallest in my class. Then, in second grade, one girl even shorter and smaller joined us… Poor little Hana was so delighted, that I made her my best friend – until this day she is. I seriously doubt it has something to do with the fact she saved me from shameful last position in the line.
I was that kid that has A in everything, only from PE I could barely get to B – so they can save me in the Teachers’ Council and help me with that one note. No, I still can’t imagine how that Council of good souls looks, where they pack a small gift for the end of school year for each of us…
I bring with me the equipment and sneakers with no stains, but I’m simply clumsy. I cannot catch the ball (or anything else, it still applies). I’m the slowest during the run. I’m not strong enough to come up that rope.
When you combine all of this, you get real trauma when teacher Dule announces that from next lesson we are practicing – gymnastic exercises. All my nightmares in one fine line, with a stopwatch ticking and measuring how fast I will get out of them.
It’s not negligible that this torment is supposed to be peacefully observed by the rest of my class. The guy I like will be there, next to all those “cool” people whose opinion will very soon interest me as much as last year’s snow … It’s just that in this crucial moment, I could not really comprehend it.
I somehow move over that balance beam… I collapse into something that looks like a backward roll. Round off I pull out, not with all legs in the air, but enough to get the point… And then the vault comes.
For me, the vault with torn upholstery made out of dark leather, was the source of all suffering. It was so tall that I could just peek over it. Symbolically, it was waiting for me at the end of this terrible race, as a final demonstration of my powerlessness.
In front of it they lay down a springboard, so you can do the run-up, jump on it and push away your hands from the vault in order to leap over it… It looked like they were catapulting me over the whole school, that’s how it looked like. Mat on the other side was old, dirty and hard as well as the floor around it.
Gymnastic exercises were something we had to do every year and I can try to list you all embarrassing things that I experienced there, but it would turn into a novel.
Despite the fact that at the first sight of the thrown rope, balls and other props I felt like Frodo when he looks vast swamps on the way to Mordor, there is one thing that I remembered as useful, from these distressing experiences.
While we were stumbling, falling and mutually skipping each other in these moments of horror and terror, our tormenting teacher kept saying the same thing.
“You always make the same mistake – you are rushing. When you stop to make a round off, slow down. Before you skip vault, slow down. You need to focus. You have to pay attention to all the movements, and to these instructions I’m telling you now. Run between the elements.“
I don’t remember how much this lesson helped me at the training ground, since rushing definitely was not my only problem in the physical education. I remind myself of it today – whenever I’m in a hurry and chaos.
Everything that “eats” your day is something in between. Consequently, everything that “eats” your life is in between. You think that your job, your friends, your appointment with the psychologist, your training, your hour with a book just before the bedtime – somehow “consume” your time and you don’t know how to squeeze them into your overloaded schedule.
But the time was given to you for doing these things. Important things. Whatever important things for you are. It is important not to be stingy here and to honestly estimate how much time you need to do all of it. Before that, breathe deeply and slow down. Focus. Repeat in your head what you’ve practiced.
When you’re skipping the rope, don’t think about the balance beam.
When you start to walk across the beam, stop preparing yourself for the backward roll.
When you devote yourself to the rolling, forget about the round off…
You are not accelerating anything with that rush, you’re just making chaos. Multitasking is an illusion. You’ll hurt yourself and be forced to finish the race, much earlier than you planned.
Making these overlaps, you are not creating extra time, you are stealing it from you.
Steal it from what’s in between.
Try to save time where you anyway procrastinate and wait for things. Learn to make decisions more quickly and take the time to choose your priorities. Rob additional minutes from endless scrolling and unnecessary coffees scheduled just for the sake of being polite.
I don’t want to write this article in 5 minutes, while I’m on the phone with someone. I want to make a proper coffee, sit down, think about it and I enjoy polishing each sentence for her first meeting with the world.
Therefore, it would be wise to have a list of ideas for articles, to know in advance where to look for good photos and whom to ask if I break something on my website. I shorten everything that’s secondary or trivial, to make time for the essence.
That’s why I don’t practice that ridiculous gymnastic exercises. When I get to exercise, I don’t put on strictly white shirt and black shorts. My time won’t be wasted on nonsense. I focus only on the important elements.
P.S. When it comes to the questions – “Why did I get into this?”, “Will I ever use this?” and “What will others think?” (and above all – “Why do I care what others think?”) – it would be great to seek answers to them during preparation lessons, if not even before them.
P.P.S. The sole of the sneakers is best cleaned from the pebbles with a toothpick. If you’re interested to know.