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I’m going to be an astronaut

Scott Ludwig lives, runs, and writes in Senoia.  His latest book, "Southern Charm: Columns from a small town Georgia newspaper," as well as the rest of his books, can be found on his author page on Amazon. He can be reached at magicludwig1@gmail.com.

When my friend Al and I formed a running club just after the turn of the century we established two simple rules: (1) if you say it you have to do it and (2) there were no excuses. Regardless of whether it was a just a local 5K (3.1 miles) or a 100-mile race at 12,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado, if you said you were going to do it, you’d best be prepared to walk the walk. It may sound a little harsh, but we meant every word of it: Don’t say you’re going to do something if you’re not going to do it. If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve always adhered to that sentiment in my life outside of running as well.
I once knew someone who would periodically announce the ‘next great thing’ that was going to take place in his life. From getting promoted at work to building the perfect house to helping the local pastor add to his meager congregation, he was the man that was going to make it happen. He never did any of those things. In time this is what I heard whenever he boasted about the ‘next great thing’ he was going to accomplish:
I’m going to be an astronaut.
Well, at least that’s what he should have been saying because I knew damn well that whatever he said was going to happen never actually would.
I’ve always done my best to walk the walk. As a boy I went to school every day because I told my parents I would; besides, it was my responsibility to get an education and you didn’t get an education by sitting at home on the couch. As an adult I went to work every day because I told the people that hired me that I would; I didn’t expect to be paid if I wasn’t there. During college I decided to start running every day because I told my wife I would; more than 40 years later I haven’t missed a day since.
Certainly my OCD has a lot to do with the way I am, but the truth of the matter is words don’t mean anything if that’s all they are. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.
I remember attending an HOA meeting and one of the new residents in the neighborhood — after lauding the merits of the HOA in his former neighborhood ad infinitum — said he would put together a plan to beautify the area surrounding the community lake. He mentioned he had contacts to get the equipment and materials necessary for the job ‘on the cheap’ and with a little ‘sweat equity’ from all of our residents we could complete the project over the course of a couple weekends during the summer.
I told my wife about his plan and said it would be a great if it all came together, with the caveat that our new resident still had to walk the walk. All I can say is thank God for caveats: less than two months later there was a ‘for sale’ sign in his front yard.
I realize my behavior borders on extreme — one morning I went to work in the midst of a heart attack I didn’t realize I was having until later that afternoon when the good people at the ER told me so — but then again I was never foolish enough to say I was going to be an astronaut.

Scott Ludwig lives, runs, and writes in Senoia.  His latest book, “Southern Charm: Columns from a small town Georgia newspaper,” as well as the rest of his books, can be found on his author page on Amazon. He can be reached at magicludwig1@gmail.com.