Imagine a jog on a quiet trail that wanders through the forest. Nothing but gentle breezes and sunlight filtering through the trees. All you can hear are birds in the distance. Your own little slice of heaven. Except you’re not breathing very well. In fact, you’re gasping for air as you run, trying to establish any kind of rhythm and focus, and wondering where the enjoyment is in all of this. But at some point further down the path a page turns. Your breathing relaxes and you’re moving easier. You can focus and you’re feeling good. What just happened? You found your “second wind”! And the sensation is nothing short of exhilarating.
I found my second wind on a recent run. It’s difficult to pinpoint the moment it kicks in, but it’s similar to driving as you shift from a low gear to a higher one. Everything feels smoother and more efficient. In this instance I intended to run several miles but after the first couple of minutes I wanted to quit. I couldn’t get my breath and I wasn’t getting any satisfaction out of it. It’s like I wasn’t in the mood to be there at all. Yet I was familiar enough with the trail to know I was coming to an easier stretch – some downhills and flats, and a scenic tour of the pines. I figured the least I could do was to complete that portion before I started walking. Next thing I knew, I was even further down the trail and running with ease. My pace and breathing were controlled and comfortable. So I completed my run without ever stopping. There you have it: second wind.
When I run, I like to lose myself in thought because the creative juices seem to flow better. So it was somewhere out on the trail when I realized second wind applies to other aspects of life. A year or so ago I left a job I held for over fifteen years. Initially I was not comfortable losing the routine of the daily grind. The meetings and conference calls and people just vanished. There was an unsettling feeling of no longer running the rat race. There was the constant question of “what’s going on out there in the world?” as I kept myself busy at home. But eventually I found a comfort level with my new routine – several smaller commitments instead of a single all-consuming one. I became at ease with my new circumstances. Second wind.
This is not an advice column, but second wind may hint at a healthier outlook on life. Push through the “first wind” of a given situation, especially when the going is tough and uncomfortable. Give yourself the chance to get to the chapter where the pace and the rhythm and the conditions are favorable. Once you hit that second wind, life suddenly feels exhilarating.