You know how we are always on this mission as a society to find out who we really are and who we are supposed to be? Some of us are obsessed with it. We read all the articles, scan all the blogs, complete all 24 days of the 30 day challenges. We fail. We set ourselves up to fail by trying to follow some unrealistic goal to become this perfect robot of an individual. Yet, in trying to be perfect, we actually set ourselves WAY back. Maybe we try to sleep even though we aren’t tired because the perfect person gets 7-8 consecutive hours of sleep each night. We don’t eat when we are hungry because we’ve already reached our daily calorie goal, or we don’t eat at all because we are frustrated and then eat everything in sight! It doesn’t just apply to how we treat our bodies today but also to relationships. ESPECIALLY to relationships! The drama, the forced interactions, the people you don’t even like who you for some reason feel obligated to make unnecessary conversation with. When in reality, they probably don’t want to have the conversation either.
When we were all kids, we probably ate when we were hungry. We napped when we were tired. If someone was impolite or we just simply didn’t like them, we did not have to put up with that person unless they were an adult. When we were little, if it didn’t make us happy or satisfy our needs, we didn’t want it. We had no use for it. Kids are so smart!
As adults, we spend most of our time trying to make others happy instead of ourselves. We spend time on ourselves only trying to fit into the perfect box instead of understanding we don’t belong in any box to begin with. It is an unfortunate pattern I see in myself and in others too often. A pattern of self doubt that infects our quality of life each day. We lay in bed and worry about tomorrow as if it is promised. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Am I enough? Imagine if we used that same energy to make ourselves happy, how that happiness would infect our life with entirely different results!
Turns out… you can learn a lot about yourself by just going for a nice long run…a 13 mile run actually.
When I first decided to register for this half marathon 6 months ago, I was doing what I always do. I was making a list of things I have never done and never thought I could do for the year. I like to have goals for the year so I have a road map of where I’m going. The bucket list has been my sense of purpose for quite some time now. I love my list. I have also noticed I am a little co-dependent with the list. Over the last year, I have made the list more flexible. I have removed and added new things. I have allowed myself to edit. I have allowed for things not to get checked off. Honestly, I was really worried this race was going to be one of those things. How could I actually do this?
For those of you who know me or have been following my blog, you might know that when I first started running I could barely run 2 minutes without gasping for air. I still struggle with a steady pace but I enjoy the struggle when it’s over. So I keep doing it. I trained, I ran my ass off and I am damn proud to have completed this particular race in 2 hours and 38 minutes. That so far is my best. That is not perfect. That is not above average. That is not below average. That is just my best and that is totally enough for me. I now have the satisfaction of checking this off my list and the desire to do it all over again! Crazy, right?!
My first thought when I finished this race was “I didn’t know I could do that”. I didn’t know I could run 13 miles. I didn’t know I could out run the guy behind me. I didn’t know how amazing it would feel to finish it! The feeling of accomplishment among other runners matched with the mutual sense of community and support you feel around each other is the best part of any race. Nothing is forced out there. We are all just trying to do our best. We are all tired at the end. We all wanted to give up at some point but we didn’t. We didn’t give up. For some of us, completing our run every day may just be the one thing we feel like we have control over in our life.
No, I didn’t know I could actually run a half marathon in under my 3 hour goal. I also didn’t know I could graduate college with honors. I didn’t know when I was 16 that I would learn to drive and travel all over the United States. I didn’t know I could survive immeasurable loss and heartache. I didn’t know I could go back one day and stare it in the face. I didn’t know I could grow into what people tell me is an amazing writer. I didn’t know any of it. Sometimes what you don’t know about yourself is everything you need to start the incredible journey of discovery. That’s what life is. It is a journey. There will be set backs. There will be unexpected detours, road blocks and sometimes it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep going. When you reach your destination it will most likely be more than you expected. It will be better. You will be better too for having reached it.
I’m so thankful for what I have learned that I didn’t know before. I’m so proud of the life I have built and the things I have gone through that made the path to get me here. No, I didn’t know any of it was possible. I didn’t have a master plan. I still don’t! I am just winging it. List in hand, all sights forward and living out loud. I hope I see you out there.