Cover of my Lauryn Hill AlbumToday during my 20 minute run (which went well, by the way,) my ipod came upon this song by Lauryn Hill, the lyrics from which are posted below. You ever go about your business listening to music you’ve heard a hundred times, and suddenly you hear the lyrics for the first time? I mean really hear them?

When this particular song came on, I could imagine Lauryn sitting down writing it. I felt her emotions so familiarly that I could almost swear I wrote the song myself. Joni Mitchell sometimes speaks to me that way, but this is the first time Lauryn Hill did, and it was on a song from her album that I generally skip over.

In 2007, I walked during the National Championships of the 5k with 600 meters to go or so. Over the course of that season I had a complete crisis of why I was doing what I was doing. My running had become about something else, something other, and I couldn’t seem to grab ahold of it and make it my own. It wasn’t fun. Joy and competitiveness was replaced by dread and fear. Suffice it to say that you don’t want to go there if you haven’t been already.

Well, I started talking to a sports psychologist and he helped me work through what was happening. I had to take a hard look in the mirror. Then I figured it out. This song describes so well what that epiphany was like when I magically turned things around:

Lyrics from “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”

My world it moves so fast today
The past it seems so far away
And I squeeze it so tight, I can’t breathe

And every time I try to be
What someone else has thought of me
So caught up, I wasn’t able to achieve

But deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny

I look at my environment
And wonder where the fire went
What happened to everything we used to be

I hear so many cry for help
Searching outside of themselves
Now I know His strength is within me

And deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny

And deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny