Two years ago, I realized that I was looking down a quickly shortening barrel towards 40. How could it be possible that this quintessential Millennial (minus not trusting the cloud for anything) was quickly aging out the advertiser-friendly demographic?
Alas, despite what people say to my face, I am older than I look. 40 is breathing down my neck and in order to make sure that I had the appropriate time to accomplish anything prior to this goal I took stock of where I was in life. If I had done this a few years earlier, my answers would have probably been more stereotypical, in terms of wanting to settle down and start a family. But I was now at a point to know that I wasn’t willing to necessarily change my life to accommodate having kids. Having a standard family, while it would have been nice, wasn’t necessarily a priority for me to achieve.
Instead, I made a list of about five things. The first was a goal that I had set for myself even before this. I want to buy a condo or house before turning 40. Now, I’ll admit that this has shifted and changed as well. Partly because I absolutely hate moving and have only been in my current apartment for a year and a half, I’ve thought maybe an investment property to start instead of a condo or house for myself. I’ve been going back and forward with this over the last year and a half. I figure I have another six months before I have to really decide what to do.
The second on the list was to have a book published. Well, I can safely say that I can check that off. My first book is available now and I’m already ankle-deep in research for the second book. It has been such a journey. From talking to friends who had written a book before and getting advice, to the actual process of writing and researching and compiling the interviews, and now releasing it and seeing the response the world has had to it. I still geek out when someone I don’t know tags me on social media because they have been reading the book.
The other day my friend and I were talking, and he asked if I have started referring to myself as “Author Padraic Maroney” yet. The answer to that is no, but I will jokingly say to friends, “Don’t you know who I am? I am a moderately bestselling author on Amazon, in a very specific, niche category.” Do you think that would fit on a business card?
The third item was to run another full marathon. I decided, if I was going to do it, then I was going to do it big by running the New York marathon, and to do it in 2021 because in 2020 it would have been the morning after Halloween, and I didn’t want to forsake a treasured holiday for the race – you know, priorities. Then COVID happened, and the race was canceled in 2020. It actually ended up being a blessing because now my cousin was supposed to run it that year, but instead was deferred to this year. With help from my running coach, Ross, I was able to an entry to the marathon and despite knowing this plan since 2019, I started training in June 2021.
I had done my first, and to this point only, marathon in 2013. I did well for the first half and then my IT band seized up. I started doing intervals of run/walking. Finally, at mile 20, I couldn’t do it anymore and I had to walk the last 6 miles. I wanted to do another marathon and come out unscathed at the end.
Well, this weekend it happened. My cousin and I had been checking in through training and traveled to the starting village together. Move over, Texas. When it comes to marathons, everything is bigger in New York! It was perfect running conditions, the race is probably the best organized I have ever seen, and the crowds are amazing. Alas, I’m almost 10 years older and nearly 75 pounds heavier than I was then. The good news is that I did cross the finish line uninjured. I accomplished my goal. But y’all New York City is a lot fucking hillier than I knew! Between the hills and blisters that started manifesting by mile 8, my fate was similar to the first time though. I ended up walking the last couple of miles. Still, I completed it. I have another big shiny medal to hang on my wall and ginormous blisters to remember the experience.
The last two tasks on the list were much less daunting, one being travel to Australia.
I still have about 10 months to complete these remaining tasks. But I have to say, even if I don’t make it to Sydney, I am pretty happy with my accomplishments during these last two years. The magnitude of achieving these was really driven home in an e-mail I got from my aunt last week. She said that I was doing these things that so many people think about doing but never actually follow through with doing it. Doing them back-to-back is even more crazy when you think about it. Literally, it has probably driven me a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs.
I’ve been incredibly lucky during the course of all this to have support from so many people. I have also been very cranky at some points (okay, many points) while working towards these goals. But like the mantra I used while trying to finish the marathon, every little step we take gets us one step closer to achieving our goals.
Now, I’m going to take a long-needed nap.
Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome. His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”
You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob