Once upon a time I took up running.
I hated every second of it. It hurt my feet and my knees and if it was cold out, running made my asthma flare up.
But, I also loved every second of it. With every awkward and slow stride I could feel myself getting stronger, reaching goals I never thought possible.
Running forced me to learn how to breathe better. It forced me to learn how to pace myself. It forced me to sometimes let go of distractions and focus on a goal. It forced me to sometimes let go of goals and focus on distractions.
Despite how hard it was and how much I hated it, running changed me for the better.
For a lot of reasons, I no longer run.
But lately I feel like I’m running again. (Metaphorically speaking, of course, because that is my preferred language.)
As I race through each day, appointment after appointment, phone call after phone call, meeting after meeting, car shuttle after car shuttle, I feel like I’m huffing and puffing through another 5k race.
It sometimes feels like I can't catch my breath.
I can’t see any finish line in the distance.
Each step feels like such a challenge.
But, maybe this metaphorical running experience can also teach me something - just like my actual running experience did all those years ago.
Maybe this hectic sprint of today is a reminder to slow down, pace myself, and focus on my breathing.
Maybe this race is an opportunity to sometimes shift my focus from goals to distractions.
Maybe, just maybe, this stress of today is making me stronger and teaching me lessons about which someday I will be deeply grateful.
So, for now, I'll just take a few deep breaths and keep moving forward, trying to find some beauty along my run.
If you are running a similar race, maybe now is a good time to shift your focus as well.
This sticker literally fell into my lap today as I took my new phone case out of its packaging.
Do you know what I did when I saw it?
Right there all by myself.
Because the truth is, it’s the same message I’ve been sending myself all week.
as a mom,
as a sister,
as an aunt,
as a teacher,
as a therapist,
as a pet owner,
as a neighbor,
as gym goer,
as a friend,
as a writer,
as a wife,
Be better - at everything.
And something about seeing the message fall into my lap made me realize that none of us need that kind of energy right now.
Who are we to tell ourselves or anyone else to be better?
It’s ok to not be better.
Sometimes it’s ok to just be.
Be far from perfect.
Be simply surviving.
Be a mess.
Be “just” ok.
If there is anything we all need to “be better” at right now, it’s giving ourselves and each other a bit more grace and resisting the pressure from society to always try to be better.
Here’s to hoping you are embracing just being you right now.
Now, more than ever, we all need a little support to help get us through the rough spots. With all the pressures of life, it can be a challenge to find time to not only take care of yourself but also to truly understand who you even are anymore.