"Shalane Flanagan cut such a familiar figure Sunday, running toward the cameras in Central Park at the New York City Marathon, that it seemed odd she hadn't been seen on a marathon course since the 2016 Rio Olympics. With her upright carriage, high cheekbones flushed with exertion, chin tucked, blond ponytail switching back and forth like a metronome, she has been a fixture in big international distance races for 10 years now: always in contention, never quite able to close the last gap. Now she was the one who was accelerating beyond reach."
The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year. It is sung all over the world, evoking a sense of belonging and fellowship, tinged with nostalgia.
Getting the Most from the World of Yesterday
The world can seem fixated on the past. In romantic terms, nostalgia is simply homesickness, the desire to be at home. We all leave behind traces of ourselves where we felt the most vital and alive.
Nostalgia can also stem from a gnawing feeling of decline. Last year’s UN World Happiness Report found that a large number of people around the world think that life used to be better and do not feel at home in the present. The irony is that nostalgia often gets used as a way to resist or control someone else’s idea of progress.
Times may be tough but when it comes to distance running, I think the nostalgists are onto something good. Knowing who you are and where you came from matters. Past glories are often a foretaste of future triumphs. When one trend seems to be exhausted, and the next has yet to come into being, the past holds important lessons. The best way of harnessing the past is using it to dissolve barriers and open horizons.
History Never Really Says Goodbye… it Says ‘See you Later’
Luckily, there are vaults of research, full of moving readings and humorous stories about remarkable mentors and inspiring teachers that attest to the global history, philosophy, and spirituality of the sport. I’m at my best when drawing from all of these worlds and putting them directly into practice.
A Sufi mystic and a true lover never wait for the new year’s arrival. For them, every instant is a new year! – Rumi
My translation: Don’t wait for years and years before acknowledging today’s running was great. If you’re feeling nostalgic, let it fuel you! Pretend today is yesterday and just go out there and run on light feet as if to carry your heart back home.
May this New Year bring joy and happiness to you all!