Choices confront us daily, sometimes crowding our consciousness with anxiety and despair, sometimes filling our calendar with personal and professional priorities, and sometimes satisfying obligations while satiating our desires. These choices- born of a deeper psychological construct of attitudes, beliefs, meanings, and values- are expressed by the decisions made and the subsequent actions taken. They are the footsteps of our lives, mapping the essence of who we are. Unfortunately, in today’s harried world of doing more with less, many interpreters find themselves wearing multiple hats. Whether they are administrative, resource management, law enforcement, or supervisory responsibilities, many find their professional hours chalked full of non interpretive duties. And, many agency employees must choose to present interpretive offerings rather than fulfill other obligations. Fortunately, for those who make interpretation priority one, fulfillment, productivity, and congenial working relations result. Those who make interpretation priority one, experience an interpretive high!
Recently, I accepted a challenge from a former peer- a park ranger with Tennessee State Parks. She organized a Couch-to-5K (C25K) program with the hope of encouraging park patrons and local community members to become more active at the park. Being sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, I attended the informational meeting. Inspired and jittery were just two of the many emotions flooding my body as I read the nine week schedule. I signed the roster, purchased new running shoes, and marked my calendar for the first of twenty-seven meet-ups to come.
Being a former trail runner, I was jarred running on pavement; however, I chose to not focus on my jiggling cheeks. And, being a former half-marathon runner, I chose not to scoff at 90 second intervals or to beat myself up when I realized that 90 seconds meant 90 lashes!
Weeks passed. Intervals turned to miles. And, the long forgotten runner’s high re emerged. Thankfully, it did so at what would have otherwise proved a very humiliating moment!
Taking the dog for a run, I was confident my companion would stretch my stride and quicken my pace. I met the final hill of an extra hard run, glanced up at the approaching summit, and gave it my all. Then, it hit me: the dog was walking. I laughed at myself once I caught my breath and marveled at the feeling. It was the same feeling experienced following a successful interpretive program. As I cooled down, I recalled those wondrous moments of clarity when I revisited my interpretive offerings. Yes, it seems the same endorphins that kept my legs pumping stride after stride are the same that helped me hone my craft through informal, self-evaluation.
No matter if it’s running or interpreting, remember: it’s your choice!