Yesterday’s half marathon could have been a crushing defeat. I haven’t run over six miles since November’s NYC Marathon, and truth be known, I ran very little at all over the winter. So I was more than just a little concerned. But beyond finished strong in 1:53:49, it turned out to be a pretty miraculous morning.
Sure, it’s miraculous that I didn’t collapse in a heap of vomit somewhere on Central Park’s East Drive. But I’ve long advocated the position that running has as much to do with mental drive as physical. I mean, it’s my body, it’s me — I can keep moving forward so long as I pay attention to my limits, keep steady, and stay positive (good guidelines to live by, huh?). But yesterday’s run was extra miraculous ‘cuz Chris and I had one of those 13.1M conversations about Big Things. Not politics, or work, or any of those temporal, safe subjects that people cling too, but real stuff like the History of Us, and our dynamic as brothers.
“I’m a big believer in the Chinese seven year cycle,” he said. (I always thought Mao was into five year plans, but whatever). “When we moved to New York, I was doing most of the pushing. Now I think it’s your turn.”
As any of you who has a sibling knows, sometimes the people who have shared your experiences the closest can remain miles and miles apart. Friendship and understanding require cultivation, which can be difficult in the face of people being more, less or other than you want them to be. We have agendas for one another, to be sure, and visions of what we think our siblings should do, say, and be. But, of course, they can only do, say, and be who they are, and what they’ve become.
He and I have been through a lot. And I think that it’s fair to say that we have pretty lofty ambitions and expectations for one another. I want him to be a filmmaker, and I think he wants me to be a rock star. Instead, we are whatever we are: a television editor, and a Internet director (though we’re certainly not done becoming whatever we are). Of course, Chris’ best work yet, in my opinion, has come as a husband and a father, and mine… well, I’m not sure. I guess I think that my best work has been tackling personal demons and becoming a better man. But I digress a little.
We moved to New York under Chris’ steam. I was 23-years-old and quite uncertain of myself, my goals, and my future. He was 27-years-old and focussed on moving to New York and establishing himself as the best editor in town. And so, in 1995, we packed up our $350/month two bedroom apartment, drove south on I-87, and settled in Hell’s Kitchen.
Chris hustled from the get-go, working two jobs to keep us afloat. He encouraged me to hold out for the right job, and supported me through an unpaid internship at Wenner Media. I was earning freelance pay within six months, but scarcely enough to contribute in any major way to out quadrupled rent. Within a year, I had a full-time job as Lifetime Television Online’s Entertainment Producer, and was carrying my weight, and Chris was able to drop his second job.
That’s just biography. That’s just the facts. Thematically, Chris has long — if not always — been my prime protector. He sheltered me from the storm of our parent’s divorce, took me along to his teenage parties, took me to my first bar, took me in after college, brought me along to New York, and generally exposed me to the world under the safety of his wing.
And I think that’s been a burden, one that — now that he and I are adults, now that I can carry my own weight, and now that he has a wife and a son — he can’t shoulder any longer. And shouldn’t have to.
So I guess what I’m sayin’ is, wake up early, people. Stretch out a little bit, and tackle more than you think you can accomplish. Go for the long haul with someone you love.
You never know how far you can go, or where you might end up.