“God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s that simple.” – Joseph Campbell

When I have writer's block, I run Lake Galena to loosen the logjam.

When I have writer’s block, I run Lake Galena to loosen the logjam.

What are the chances I’d write my 100th blog on Christmas Eve? I wrote my 99th post over one week ago, and when it came to #100, I went blank. Writer’s block—the marathoner’s equivalent to “hitting the wall.” Do you write something special for your 100th blog? Something profound about writing or running, or both? Should I write about training, races, philosophy, books? Well, the Holiday spirit got hold of me and I decided to just be thankful and move on.

What I’ve learned from running and writing all these years is that reaching milestones is relative, and somewhat anti-climatic. Whether it’s the 100th blog, running Boston or getting published, the thrill last for maybe the rest of the day, okay maybe the following day too, but then it’s time to move on.

I remember laboring on my first post over a year ago, wondering what to write about, if anyone would read it, or if anyone would even care. That now seems like a blur. Same thing with my first marathon in 1981. That was another lifetime. Reagan was in the White House and LeBron James wasn’t yet born. And I recently signed a contract to publish my memoir about the marathon. It will be one of an estimated million books that will be published next year worldwide. That certainly puts things into perspective.

Recently, I hiked on the Appalachian Trail to Hawk Mountain with a couple of my buddies. We hiked and climbed all morning, got to the top and enjoyed the scenery for a bit (actually, it was pretty foggy) and then said, we still have a long way to go, and continued on our way. I think that’s a good way to look at milestones. Stop, enjoy the scenery, but not for too long, and continue on your way. Life is more exciting when you move forward to see what’s around the bend, over the next hill, at the top of Hawk Mountain.

Easing along the Appalacian Trail on the down side of Hawk Mountain.

Easing along the Appalachian Trail on the down side of Hawk Mountain.

Milestones are simply stops along the way to new destinations. If you hang around too long, progress ceases, as does growth, and adventure, and wonder and fun. This is a good time of year to be thankful for all that you have and the things you’ve done, but it’s also a good time a plan for the year ahead. Always move forward.

Happy Holidays!





About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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6 Responses to Milestones

  1. For me, milestones have become essential, and incredibly important. I hear what you’re saying about the fact that they only last a day or so. True that. Once I cross the milestone, I only look forward, to the next one. Maybe next time, a little longer, maybe a little faster, maybe a little better. There is GREAT personal satisfaction in reaching the milestone though. I have tried celebrating my milestones with friends and even family, and I know it’s not as big a deal to them. They are MY milestones. I set goals twice a year, and while I realize there is no great reward for reaching them, I try like hell to get there. It’s a bit odd really… knowing full well that I set the goal, I establish the milestone and I am accountable and for what? Just to pass the benchmark and move on to the next one. And this post is perfect timing for me, as it’s time to set my first-half of 2013 goals this week. 🙂


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Yes, yes, Chuck. We definitely need milestones if we want to navigate our way through life, to reach our goals. And it’s interesting you bring up about family and friends sharing in the celebration, that is so true. Don’t let me discourage you from enjoying your achievements, but don’t lose sight of new destinations and opportunities down the road. Now, it’s off to plan those 2013 goals. Good luck!


  2. gorunjess says:

    Jim, I’ve enjoyed your blog and truly appreciate this post. I’ve found that how I feel at these milestones is what is most important. The “high” of the moment may decrease over the course of a few days, but the excitement or fear I felt at the milestone is a good guide post for whether or not I’m on the right path for me. Happy running-looking forward to your book!


    • Jim Brennan says:

      I appreciate your kind words and support, Jess. You remind me that I may have over-simplified the significance of milestones, and I certainly didn’t want to do that. Another reader, Kyle, brought up a similar point. Milestones are important, it’s how we plot out our course and achieve things. And don’t get me wrong, I get excited when I reach a goal. But I feel just as strongly that it’s important not to get hung up too long on past successes and keep moving forward. So, I’m grateful for comments from you and other readers. It keeps me on my toes, keeps me honest. Enjoy the rest of your holidays and wishing you a healty and prosperous 2013.


  3. Kyle Kuns says:

    I agree. For me, milestones are essentially markers providing points of reference for the larger journey and they often look arbitrarily important as mile markers are placed on a highway–especially when viewed from the rear view mirror. Without them however, one could easily get lost or discouraged.


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