I teach at the same high school where I went to school (very weird at first, now I love it). There are many traditions at this school, but one of the strongest is the powerhouse girl's cross country and track teams that we have. Part of the reason we are strong is because of the location that offers lots of hills, and another part is simply the training and tradition. But it is also, in large part, because of the coach. He is referred to as Dr. Coach around here, and has a voice that can carry through a wind storm. While I never ran cross country (well, I did, for one day...), I went to many meets.
For those of you unfamiliar with a cross country race, they girls run three miles over dirt or grass or track or asphalt or concrete. So by the time the runners hit the end, they have put in a good amount of physical exertion. But that is when Dr. Coach starts yelling, at and for each of his girls. From a good distance away, he can be heard saying, "Burn it, burn it, burn it!" That last amount of whatever you've got. The final effort, the good push, give it everything.
With today being December 2nd, and the end of 2013 in sight, this has become my motto. This year has tried to run me over more than once, and I have been exhausted, run down, and frustrated often. I've questioned my writing, ideas, priorities, jobs...pretty much all the things. And a few days ago, I felt the desire to just slow down, walk to the end of the year, and just start 2014 new.
But in the back of my mind is my own Dr. Coach. There is that voice that is saying, "If I can end this year on a roll, on a high, at my peak, how much better will next year be?" It's harder. It's a challenge. Rarely, though, do people coast to the end of a competition saying that wasn't bad and feel the satisfaction comparable to those who push themselves to be their very best.
So, for the next 29 days, I'm going to burn it. Work toward my writing goals, start improving myself now instead of waiting for resolutions, and end this year in a way that next year can't be anything but better.