Running the extra mile

Are you on the right track?

French class at high school. One day we ought to translate a poem: “La Ballade des pendus”. My friend and me worked together on this translation. We didn’t understand a word of it. I still remember the look on my friends face when she opened the dictionary. She said: “It says here the word means ‘paapje’.” and then we both burst into laughter, because neither of us had a clue what the Dutch word ‘paapje’ meant. 

Back then, obviously, we didn’t run the extra mile. A “6”* will do was our motto. So, we didn’t take the effort of finding out the meaning of various words. And… we didn’t understand the poem.

When we finished university, building our careers, we finally started running these extra miles. Especially when we thought our paycheck needed an upgrade. Where at first we couldn’t see the value of this extra mile and not even one step was taken, now, we finally took the step. But we took it for the wrong reasons and although this resulted in an income increase, this extra mile also costed a fortune, as exhaustion joined us while running along.

Another decade was needed to actually understand that running the extra mile wasn’t the problem, but running it for the wrong reasons and in the wrong direction was. 

For a long time, I ran a track that wasn’t mine, it was the track that was offered to me by my surroundings and although I felt it wasn’t mine, I followed it anyway. 

Now I know better, I follow Pamela’s track, and I run without effort, because it’s the right track. 

Years later, my friend send me a postcard. She wrote “Look what I found, I finally know what ‘paapje’ means!”. At the front of the card was a picture of a beautiful little bird.

*NOTE: Dutch grades run from 0-10. Where 6 is sufficient and 10 is excellent.

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