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Best of the Best

Some days we strive to be the best of the best. Some days we strive to be the best version of ourselves. Some days we strive to just be. To just make it through to the end. To just get up. To shower. To go about our day and make it to the end. That is the goal. That is the plan. If we do so, then that is also a victory.

We don’t always need to be the top of our game. We don’t always need to be striving for the best. Sometimes we just need to be. Victories come in all forms of life. Some are big, huge victories. Some are victories that no one sees but we know that they are there just the same.

It is these victories that no one sees that are the most victorious. The small victories that no one cheers for that matter the most. Finishing a marathon is hard, but when you are out on the course with crowds cheering you on while not easy. It is harder to give up than to keep going. Getting up and out the door to train for that race is where the real marathon happens. Yet there are no finish lines to run through on a training run that you didn’t want to do. There is no crowd cheering you as you put your shoes on for a run that you might not have felt like doing. These small victories are what make the bigger victories possible.

Just like waking up, getting out of bed, showering and going about your days when all you want to do is hide under the covers, eat chocolate and not face the world is a victory. These are the moments that no one sees. They see you showing up, ready to face the world and have no idea what is behind the curtain. No idea what it might have taken you to get there.

This is a victory.

Every day someone who is suffering manages to do what they need to do to make it to the end of the day is a victory. The mom whose plate is overflowing, yet still manages to get done what needs to be done. The soul crushing moments where you just want to give up, but keep going. The parent of a sick child that puts on a happy face for that child but cries when alone. The person struggling with depression while everyone thinks that they are a happy go lucky person. The family dealing with illnesses. On and on and on…… We all know someone who fits one of these descriptions or maybe we are that family. It doesn’t matter because we all have something. We all have a curtain that only a few see behind.

I wish they got cheering crowds. I wish they could share these small victories for the world to high five them. I wish the world was ready for them to share these small victories without judgement. I wish they had cheering crowds to push them on and to let them know they are not alone. Often we cheer on silently, but wouldn’t it be awesome if they knew how much support they really had because often they might feel like the weight is on their shoulders alone.

Everyone wants to cross the finish line, but few know what went into getting there. Be it the finish line of a 5K, 10K, Half, Marathon or just life in general. It is not always easy. Actually it usually is never easy. It is often hard. There is grit, sweat and tears. Many times we feel like we are on our own, but the important thing is to remember that even at those times when we feel alone, we aren’t. We just have to remember that while only we can carry ourselves to the finish line, we have people cheering us silently even if we don’t know it. A true friend is always cheering for you in both big and small victories.

Many times we feel like our best isn’t good enough but our best is all we have to offer. So keep doing your best….. No matter what that best means on that given day!

Every person….. Every life… All you can do is what you can do on that given day. No more. No less.

Your best is good enough.

You are good enough.

Keep going!

Consistency is Key

To most “March Madness” means something to do with College Basketball. I know it’s some type of big College tournament and there are brackets to be filled, but I couldn’t tell you what colleges are in it except this year since Rutgers was in it for the first time. I only know that because my Governor talked about it (a lot). Don’t ask me why they haven’t participated before because I couldn’t tell you. Being as I don’t follow basketball (or really any sports for that matter) March Madness and all the madness really means nothing to me.

Sorry not sorry.

For me though, I have taken on my own March Madness. I participated as part of a team for Dylan’s Wings of Change. Part of a Kilter challenge of Miles for Meaning. The winning team won $25,000 for their charity. We actually had 3 teams. Team 1 (not my team) crushed it. Like seriously crushed it. While not on the actual winning team, I was still lucky enough to be part of the overall team and it was amazing support system to push to keep moving and getting the miles in. These winnings will go a long way to helping their organization share their programs.

Going into this challenge, I had hoped to do 100 miles for the month. Considering that January and February that I had only done 50 miles, this was a leap for me. I would have to go back to look at stats to see the last time that I hit 100 miles running. I might have to go back a long time. Now I will say that not ever mile was a running mile, but most were. I have also changed the way I look at my running.

We have all heard it…….. We all know the truth of it……. We roll our eyes at it…….. but we can’t deny it.

Consistency is key.

It is not what we do once, but what we do over and over and over again. It’s not about showing up with your running shoes once, but time after time. Week after week. Run after run. We know the truth of it, yet somehow we ignore it or pretend otherwise. Yes, you can go out and have a great run every now and then, but if you want that feeling more frequently than you have to show up frequently.

I have taken a step in the right direction with showing up this last month. Showing up on days that I might not have wanted to show up. Doing what I needed to do in order to hit my target goal for the month. Showing up the last day of the month for 7 miles…… 1 mile warm-up walking. 5 miles running. Then a mile cool-down. I did this because I needed each of these miles to hit my target.

100 miles

This past month and following the training plan for the NYC Half have reminded me that I need to be more consistent. I need to continue to show up. Show up for myself. Show up because as I once again become more consistent in my running that I am becoming a stronger runner. I am once again learning how to control the run and not let the run control me. Consistency is also giving me the confidence in my running and myself.

Showing up is never easy. Some days it is harder than others. Some days we can find every reason not do show up. Some days these reasons are valid and some days they are just excuses. When you are doing what you love though, you look for not excuses to check out but ways to show up. I want to go back to the days where I did the later. Days where I would go out for a run at 8:00 at night because I needed to get my run in. Days where I just showed up to run…. by myself….. with a group….. on the trails….. on the road….. Anywhere and everywhere.

I recently had a Facebook memory where I said that I was heading out for “12 easy miles with friends.” So many things struck me with that…..EASY! HA!!! Although, before I ever even thought of running a half marathon that I was meeting friends just to run to run. Running long distances for no other reason except to run them. I still remember a friend on one of these runs asking me if I was doing a certain race and then saying “if you can run 12, you can easily run a half.” So I did.

Somehow in all the training and all the goals, I forgot to run just to run. Run without an end in site. Now don’t get me wrong….. All of these goals have been great. They have kept me motivated and moving but……. but……. but……. If you only keep doing something because of the end goal, eventually it becomes a job and you can’t wait to get to the end.

So it seems silly after saying that to say that I am challenging myself with a new goal, but I am. For the month of April (my birthday month), I want to run/walk at least one mile every day. I would actually like to become a more consistent runner and do 3 solid runs a week of at least 5 miles. I remember when 5 miles used to be my normal run and I think that I have been consistent enough where that is where I am now as long as I keep going.

When I first started, I needed to push myself to move. I needed to push myself to put in the work. This is not a fake it till you feel it moment because I am already feeling it. This is keep up the good work and don’t give up moment.

Where are you?

Plugging Along

Plugging along. That’s what I do…….. It’s really all any of us can do. Sometimes it is hard to keep going. Sometimes it’s easier. What really doesn’t matter is how fast, how slow, or even how hard you push. What matters is that you keep going.

I remember when I ran my first big race, one of my kids asked me if I was going to win. I told him not a chance and that I was just training to be able to finish the race. One thing that so many people get stuck on is what is the point if you can’t be the best of the best. The thing is they are missing the point. You don’t have to be the best of the best. You just need to be the best version of yourself. No one can do you better at being you than you.

So often in life we let what others think of our accomplishments diminish them. We compare ourselves and when we do that often we do not compare ourselves favorably. We ask ourselves the wrong questions – Why can’t I be as fast as xyz? Why can’t I run as far as xyz? It’s bad enough when we do this with our running, I won’t even get into when we do it in other aspects of our lives ….. But…….. But……But…. What if instead of asking how we compare to xyz, we ask

Am I being the best version of myself?

Am I doing what makes me happy?

Am I doing all that I can?

These and only these answers are in our control. These answers we can realistically and honestly answer. These are questions that if we don’t like the answers, we can evaluate and change so that eventually we get an answer that we want. We have no control over so many things in our lives, but we do have control over the way we react, what we do and how we live our lives

Case in point –

I was texting with a friend about my blog today. She made the comment, “I think it’s because it’s relatable. It’s not some picture perfect mom or athlete”.

When I started this blog it was to share my progress as I trained for my first (and supposed to be only) Sprint Triathlon. I shared what I learned as I learned it. I’ve never pretended to be more than I am….. I middle aged mom trying to do the best that I can. Sometimes my best isn’t what I want it to be, but it is what it is.

So here I am a few months into 2021 trying to be the best version of myself. Trying to find the sweat spot of running with Hypopara while being realistic. I have not been happy with my running. Not because I wasn’t running fast enough but because of the way I felt after and during. My new approach after my break has been much better both mentally and physically. I can realistically say that this month I will hit the 100 mile mark for running/walking with most of those miles being running miles. Even better, I have done these miles in a way that is best for my body.

Remember that we can only do what we can do and sometimes the best thing we can give ourselves is the gift of time to re-access, re-evaluate, and most of all just keep plugging along because eventually you get where you want to go.

Be Brave (Take 2)

Take 2! The first published before it saved changes. Those who I text regularly could recognize my crazy voice and fat finger typing without editing……. Plus, I hate when editing does not change:)

Anywho….

Consistency is key to anything. Repetition is what takes something and makes it learned behavior. Think when you learned your multiplication tables. Who remembers those drills, pop quizzes and all those practice, practice, practice. (yeah, maybe that was just me since math was never my forte). You didn’t learn them from osmosis or at least I didn’t. You’ll learned them because you continually worked on them. Practiced until it became instant recall. My son in college seems to be doing this with formula’s I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they are called, let alone their purpose. During the pandemic many took up baking bread. As a baker, I can attest the more you do so the better the end product. Baking bread to many was like a science experiment with many complicated but necessary steps. Over time it became easier to tell when kneading was done. When your dough had the the right texture,and eventually could just do it by feel. There was no second guessing, you just knew.

The same consistency is required with training and creating a workout routine. For most, we need to schedule time for your workout because it is not part of the routine nor necessarily something we are looking forward to (yet) . Eventually with consistency it becomes part of you and it feels strange if you miss it. I’ve mentioned before how my husband transformed himself with loosing weight through the tried and true method of diet and exercise. In the beginning, it was challenge but now he couldn’t imagine a day where he was not doing something physically active. It has become part of him and he looks forward to one of his daily workouts.

It takes bravery to step out and try something new. It takes bravery to commit to something. To put yourself out there no matter how far or near out there you may go. It takes bravery and commitment to say you are going to do something and then actually do it. Even if it isn’t working for you, it is so much easier to stay in the same place. There is comfort in the uncomfortableness of the known because while it may suck at least you know what you are dealing with. To stay with what is comfortable even if it is not where you want to be instead of tiptoeing into the unknown…… So no matter how hard it is to stay in one place, it is always so much harder to take the first step and then the second.

Consistency is needed in beginning of any plan. It is necessary until it becomes part of you.

Some will go far.

Some will go as far as they can.

Some will go fast.

Some will go as fast as they can.

Pace….. Distance…. Events…..

The most important thing is to be true to yourself. With that thought process, I’ve been plugging away on my half marathon training plan. I’ve been sticking to the program which I admit is much easier to do with a treadmill now. I used to hate treadmill running (and part of me still does), but since I’ve discovered watching shows on Netflix while running it isn’t bad. I also credit the treadmill with allowing me to reboot my training and keeping me in check with where I should be running for that reason alone I owe it some love. That being said, you can’t race from a treadmill which means you need to also do some training outside.

This week for the first time since I started following my Half Marathon training plan, I took the run outside. I didn’t watch my watch, but wanted to test myself and run by feel. I wanted to keep the run conversational for the most part, but also make it a worthwhile training run. So I chatted with myself. Tested how I felt and kept myself where I thought I should be running. Hours later I looked at my paces and info from my run and I surprised myself. I hit the paces that I should be hitting. I actually had surprisingly beautiful negative splits. Most of all and this is the best part…… I enjoyed the run. There was no beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting certain paces, that I was running too slow or any such thing. There was knowledge that I was doing what I should be doing and that was enough.

Sometimes that is more than enough. I know that if I pushed myself that I could hit faster paces, but for now this is not a tradeoff I am willing to make right now. I also realized that this was enough. It is always enough. I might actually be able to push myself faster and harder, but the cost to do so is one that I am no longer willing to pay. We all have to decide what we want. What we are willing to give up. What we are willing to trade off. What we are willing to work for and what is not worth the work. These are individual choices that no one can make for us. There is no one size fits all and that is ok.

What choices are you making today? Remember not making a choice is still a choice, so choose wisely my friend

The Roller Coaster Ride

I’ve been up

I’ve been down.

I’ve thrown my hands up giving myself up to enjoy the ride

I’ve wondered if I was foolish to even get on as it begins to take off. The anticipation while you wait in line, strap yourself in and begin to take off wondering if you are up for what lies ahead. The thing is once the ride takes off, you have no choice but to buckle in and make the best of it. You can scream. You can laugh. You can throw your hands up and just enjoy the ride. Doesn’t matter what you do because once it takes off, you are commited. Sometimes you think you have reached the end of the ride only to realize that you are going around another bend.

A few times I’ve thought that I reached the end of my roller coaster ride only to realize how wrong I was. I think I am really finally coming into the station of acceptance with my 2016 post surgery Hypopara running. You may be thinking…… it has taken since 2016. Acceptance isn’t as easy as it sounds. Then there are the times where you think you have reached the stage of acceptance only to realize that you have just been getting by and really have not. Letting Pride really keep you from making it to the end.

Here is the thing. Since my 2016 surgery left me Hypopara, I kept trying to push myself to run at a pace where I no longer was physically able to run. Mind you I knew that I was no longer at a run sub 2 half pace, but I still never embraced where I should realistically should be running even if at times I thought I did.

Recap for new followers –

For about two years or so before my surgery, I was working with an amazing coach. With her guidance I ran a sub 2 half marathon, a 50K, and I was able to even run a 26:26 5K. I was at the top of my game and I even timed my surgery to be after running the 2016 NYC Marathon. I’ve said it before, the surgery was just going to be a blip.

Until is wasn’t.

Then I kept riding the roller coaster knowing that I was the same, but trying to be something that I wasn’t. Not to say that I won’t be again, but not now. After surgery, I origionally was over medicated so I was able to keep my running up. Then realization that I could no longer keep calcium levels up in the 9’s but for safety of kidney’s . Needing to keep levels just below or at normal level’s. Doesn’t sound like much but for those of us with Hypoparathyroidism, we can tell you that there is a BIG difference how one feels with calcium at a level 9 compared to 8.2 or even 8.5. I also think that for right now I have found a happy medium where my calcium has been around 8.4 last couple times. The balancing act is real.

Anywho…… for the longest time a year or two after my surgery I kept trying to run paces that while much slower than my 2016 paces but realistically were not paces that I should be running. The thing is that I really couldn’t maintain them either. I did a lot of running too fast. Needing to walk and then running again. Then with the 20 pound post surgery weight gain and everything else, running a 10:45 pace was not where I should be even though at the time I thought that was “slow.” I remember posting in a group that my former coach runs about having to walk during my runs and I’m paraphrasing because honestly I don’t remember exactly what she said even if I remember the meaning behind what she was saying. She basically said that I was walking because I was running too fast and maybe (I add that in my mind) pride was the reason. Even though I knew the truth of her words, like many not willing to accept reality I blew off what she was saying. Although if there is one thing anyone who has worked with Caolon knows…… She knows what the (beep) she is talking about even if you choose not to hear her.

So I went on….. and on….. and on…… until I finally gave up running completely. I spent months just walking. I walked and walked and walked some more. I even walked a virtual marathon. Then I was ready to run again. I wanted to run again. There was beauty in having not run for a long time. I was 100% starting from the beginning and needed to respect starting from scratch. My mind was in the right place this time. I also think that deciding not to train by pace but heart rate helped because it gave me the ability to learn where I should be running to actually run.

So here I’ve been just running and training. 100% recognizing that pace is not the goal right now. That the goal is to find where I should be running and run there. I’ve been embracing the running and am now following a training plan for the NYC Virtual Half. I am only using the plan for milage and training not following anything by pace. It has also been helpful that even though I hate it, I have been running on the treadmill. This is good because it does allow me to control pace that I’m running at without concern that I end up running at a pace I shouldn’t be.

I’ve also realized pace is irrelevant to me right now. I am more concerned with being able to run without leaving myself and my body depleted. Since running by heart rate and finding the correct pace while still pushing myself, I have realized that I have not been getting muscle spasms. I am not depleted to the point where I NEED (not want) to nap and most of all I can function in my day to day life.

Last week I ran a hard 5K.

Then this week in training I ran 4.5 running 4 without stopping and feeling good. I did this running average pace of 12:37. This “hard” run was literally a minute faster than what I used to do my easy runs at. So today I needed to run 7 miles, my longest run so far this training cycle. Since this was a long run that meant I need to run slower. I started off with a 5 minute warm up walk and then when I hit every mile I walked for 45 seconds. I’m not sure that I actually needed the walk, but it did break up the treadmill running. Who knows what that would parlay to outdoor running, but for right now I am happy to be running, not feeling like I can’t do it, and feeling like I could do more when I stop.

I’ve been thinking a lot about accepting where I am lately. I realized that while I thought I had accepted where I am right now that I really had not. I do think that this roller coaster ride is finally coming into the station. Acceptance does not mean that I won’t push to try to do better. It does not mean that I can’t work to do better in the future. It does not mean that I won’t have days where things bother me. It just means that I am ok with where I am today.

Where are you today?

In the Eye of the Beholder

I’ve been hard on myself. I’ve been easy on myself. I’ve been in between the two.

I’ve been proud. I’ve been embarrassed. I’ve been in between the two.

I’ve pushed. I’ve pulled back. I’ve been in between the two.

I’ve been fearless. I’ve been full of fear. I’ve been everything in between.

Somewhere along the lines from not knowing anything when I started out to being at the top of my game in 2016 to where I am now; I forgot something. I forgot that it doesn’t matter what I am doing as long as I am doing something. I forgot that I can’t be more than I am at any given time. That trying to swim against the current is a sure fire way to allow the current to pull you under. That it’s ok to use a flotation device to stay afloat as long as you stay afloat. Most of all that in the whole scheme of things it is about enjoying what I’m doing.

Although I’ve never really stopped to some extent I have stopped giving it my all. I’ve stopped pushing. I started thinking that if I couldn’t hit previous expectations that I was somehow failing. That I needed to keep doing more than I could physically do and when my body couldn’t I wondered what was the point. What was the point of it if I couldn’t do everything the way I wanted.

That reality is what we make it. That pretending the world is not the way we want it to be doesn’t change the way it really is even if we don’t ever want to admit it. Acting like a toddler because things don’t go your way doesn’t suddenly make them go your way. So maybe it’s not toddler mentality so much as human nature. Unlike a toddler though, as an adult we are able to recognize the self sabotage and be willing to change.

The truth of the matter is….. I want to recognize that I am not where I used to be. I might (chances are pretty good) never be there again. I recognize that I need to train and run smarter. I need to give my mind and body what it needs which is to live in reality and not the past or a version of reality that is not based in reality but fantasy.

Reality isn’t bad. Reality is challenging and hard and a good place to be. Reality is every changing too. So who knows. We can be our biggest champions or we can be our biggest deterrent. How we view ourselves, our abilities and our future (even our past) determines how we live our lives. Determines the way we look at the world and what we can accomplish. It determines if we make it to the finish line or never even get to the start line.

People look at me at think I am an optimistic person. I am not sure about that. I like the epression….

It is the truth….. A truth for every aspect of our lives from where we live to the job we hold to our athletic abilities. When I go to a race, I know that I will never be the fastest. I am not usually the slowest. I used to be a middle of the pack runner. Now I might be a back of the pack runner, but at this point I wouldn’t know because there are no races.

I also realize that I am at the point where I want to push again. I don’t mean push to run a sub 2 half-marathon. I mean push to see what I can do. I mean pushing to where I am not where I want to be. I’ve realized that the only way that I will be able to do this is actually to do something. So it’s time to actually do something.

So in that spirit I signed up to run the virtual NYC Half Marathon in March. I have currently been working on my running. Learning to find out where I am and what I should be realistically be running for right now. The furthest I have run recently is 3 miles, so this should be interesting. It will be hard. It will be challenging. Most of all it will be educational as you only know what you can do if you try.

So with that….. I am ready to try. I am ready to push myself with no excuses but understanding that I dont need to be anymore than I am on any given day.

Putting You in a Box

Some people look at you not as you are but their vision of you. They look at you as who you were when you knew them – High School, College, job, time in your life, weight, or what ever they think of. Their vision does not necessarily meet reality. It is just the reality that they see and often they are wrong.

Often in life the struggle is knowing who you are. Being confident in who you are. Most of all not letting outside sources define you, but walk your own path. Many people will think they know you based on your social media posts alone, but does that mean they really know you?

People will judge you without truly knowing you. People will judge you based on their perception of you. People will judge you and not have all the facts even if they think they do. It’s not our job to provide these people the facts. It’s not our place to fill in the blanks for them. We owe them no explanations. Often we still explain ourselves. We feel we need to justify our life choices. We don’t.

I think I have said this before, but sometimes we must also realize that in some peoples story we will be the bad guy. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we can repair the damage. Sometimes we can’t and must walk away. That is life.

Today I had a moment where I realized that someone put me in a box that I don’t fit in. (Ok at the moment, I fit in them) I was talking to someone close to me who has recently gotten into running. I was mentioning how I was planning to start heart rate training. I was saying how I really don’t know what pace that I should be training with and how I was basing perceived paces on past paces. I went on to say before my 2016 thyroid surgery I was much faster and ran a 26:26 5K. They literally thought I was mistaken because the pace was 8:30 and they thought that was too fast for me (then).

I showed them my stats from Atlinks and pointed out that I used to be much faster and was quit the bad-ass at the time. Again this was someone in my life close to me. Someone who knows how much I love(d) running and how often I’ve run. They realized how much I raced. How many events I completed and all of that……. but they put me in a box. They didn’t see me for who I was at that time and only their perception of me.

Even now I know people define me….. Let them because their vision is not mine. Their perceptions don’t define me. I know that some see me just as a mom. Some see me as a wise ass (ok that one might be true). Some see me as my size. Some see me with their vision…… They are missing who I am

I may be some of what they say, but I am so much more. I am determined. I am an athlete. I am social warrior. I am many things. What I am most is what I determined.

As a finally note, you will come across people in your life that will see all the pieces in your box. They will see you with clear eyes. They will see the good. They will see the bad. They will see it all. Those that see it all and accept it as it is and not as they want or imagine…. Those are your peeps. Those are the keepers. I am lucky to have a few of those and I’m holding onto them.

Hold onto yours too.

Living in Reality

There is a song I remember singing in church as a kid.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in it’s glowing.”

I’m not sure why out of all the songs we sang this one stuck with me, but it did.

Anyhoo…..

I’ve been humming it recently because I have been feeling a spark again. A spark of fire. A spark of motivation. A spark to do more. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I like it. I am feeding the low flame to keep it from burning out. I think it is easier to snuff out the flame of motivation then to get the flame burning brightly. I miss the fire. I miss the motivation.

This 30 day challenge has been very helpful. Some days I will take forever to get motivated to get into the garage aka home gym, but once I’m there I never regret it. I also realize that one thing that I often do is going in flaming hot and then burn out. Push too hard. Do too much. Don’t pace myself and make it unsustainable.

There is no reason to do any of that. The goal is to keep moving. I am not training for anything.

The summer before my surgery left me Hypopara I ran the NYC Half in the Spring 1:58:59 for a pace of 9:04. I ran a local 5K in the summer in 26:26 with a pace of 8:30. Then just weeks before my surgery I ran the NYC Marathon in 4:56 with pace of 11:18 and while that may not seem stellar that was due to not running a smart race. I literally, figuralively, and realistically was at my physical peak in 2016. I was ready to chase that 4;15 marathon. I had unlimited energy. There was no stopping me………. or so I thought.

We all know the expression, Nothing is impossible. One it’s face everyone wants to cheer it but really it’s not true. Some things are impossible. Some goals will never be reached not for lack of will but due to reality. We have to create goals that are within reach. If I were to set a goal to PR a race right now, I realistically would not be able to reach it. But if I were to set a goal to finish a race (if there were such a thing as live events), then that would be in reach. So in life it isn’t so much as failing at our goals, but setting goals that our realistically attainable. Just because goals are attainable does not mean that that you don’t need to work and work hard to reach them.

In thinking of where I want to go with my fitness goals, I think I need to readjust how I am setting them. I’ve been focusing on pace with my running but I think at this time I need to think about training by heart rate for a while. From there I will then be able to determine what realistic goals I can set with my running. Until then I will just learn more about heart rate training. In working with weights if I tried to lift weights like I did in my Crossfit days, I would injure myself. Why would I think it would be any different with running.

So here is to living in reality and working with what you’ve got. I’ve got a lot to work with mostly my ability to keep plugging along and not give up. So I will just keep plugging along.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Often in life we wonder…. Did I make a difference? Was I effective in what I wanted to accomplish? Would Anything be different if I hadn’t been there?

Then again…. Maybe that is just me and George Bailey. If you are unfamiliar with George, you need to acquaint yourself with the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life. It is one of my favorites. A classic tale of a man who is granted a wish from an angel to see what the world would be like without him. Now my hubby thinks that it is not the stellar movie that I do, so I guess it is a subjective thing. For me, it is a heartwarming story of a man who doesn’t recognize how important he is to those around him and the impact he has had on others.

I think most of us in life do not realize the impact we have on others. We go about doing our things living our lives and often we don’t know how our actions have influenced, helped, or impacted someone else. A kind word here. A deed that maybe we thought went unnoticed noticed there. Sometimes because we don’t see it, we begin to think that maybe we aren’t making a difference or no one is paying attention.

Similar but different to when people post those “I know no one reads my posts” on their social media to see who is paying attention. Not the copy and paste ones, but the real ones. Sometimes in a world filled with noise it is easy to get lost or feel invisible. So when a friend posts something like that don’t just roll your eyes, they may truly feel invisible and just need to feel seen. To feel validated. To not feel alone. Sometimes a simple Hello is all it takes to make someone feel seen.

Then there are the times we wonder if we are being seen. If the things that we do have made a change. We may never know the full impact of our words, deeds and life. There aren’t too many Clarences (angel in above movie) to show us our impact but that does not lesson it. Each and ever person’s life has an impact on another’s life. Good or bad. This is why the expression of being kind is so important. One life really does touch another. Sadly in our society, we often wait till someone is gone to express how impactful they were in life. It really is sad.

The truth of the matter we may never know how we have touched someone’s life. If you think about the people who touched your life, the people who effected your life with a word or deed (good or bad), how many of these people actually know. I thought about a 4th grade teacher who showed me kindness. I thought about people that I worked with that inspired me. I thought about words that I’ve read that have stayed with me. I’ve thought about words that were spoken to me that stayed with me. We all have moments that for one reason or another stay with us while. They stay with us because they impacted us and the other person might not even have a clue. They don’t even need to be big moments……. many of these moments are not the BIG moments in life because every moment is life is a big moment we just don’t realize it. Each day is a gift. It’s not hokey to say. It is true.

As you can tell from this post, I’ve been doing some reflections recently. I believe part of it comes from taking part in Remembering Sandy Hook with 14 Days of Actions. These actions have been showing gratitude, being kind, and self-care. Some days it was as simple as taking a moment to actually talk to a friend…. not text…. not facebook….. have a real conversation which many of us miss as we stay home due to Covid. Some days were as simple as Saying Hello to brighten someones day. Then there were the days of action taking a moment to not only think about what we are grateful for but actually write it out. These things got me thinking about the impact we all have on each other. It is much greater than we realize.

Each life has an impact on another life in ways we might never know. I think having so much time at home has mad me a little more reflective Normally, I send a million and one Christmas Cards. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but my list is long! This year, there was no great family photos to use. I joked that maybe I could take a picture of my couch as that is really where my year unfolded “Merry Christmas from my couch to yours.” Without this photo card, I was didn’t want to send cards. Then a friend said something that got me thinking how in this year of crap how something as simple as a card could make someone’s day brighter. So I changed it up. This year there is no photo card, my list is MUCH shorter, but I am going old school. Sending cards with actual handwritten messages telling those who receive something that I might not let them know enough….. How much I appreciate them. (PS – If you were previously on my list and don’t get a card, please know that I do love and appreciate you too, but time is limited!)

If you don’t already know, I want you to know………

You are important.

You make a difference.

I encourage you, let those in your life know this too.

Hold On

So tired of 2020, but who says 2021 is going to be any better. Although I do have hight hopes for after January 20th, but even then it will be a process to turn things around. Not the flick a switch, say Happy New year at midnight and everything rights itself.

The problem is now we have all gotten comfortable being uncomfortable. It is the norm. We stopped wiping down our groceries. We started going out more (not really in this house). We started expanding our bubbles. We took our lives off the holding pattern that the initial surge created.

This is good…..

This is also bad…..

It is good because for the here and now, we do need to learn to live with Covid. We need to work. We need socialization. We need do what we can in the safest manner we can. Although there is good news on the horizon, it is on the horizon and we need to do what we can to get through the here and now.

The time will come when this will pass. When the lockdowns, the masks, the intimate gatherings become social events again. When this will all be a not say very pleasant memory that we will pass stories on to our potential grandchildren about…… We won’t even need to exaggerate because the truth is bad enough. The stories will begin with….. The year was 2020 and there was no toilet paper to be found.

But for now.

We wait.

We still show caution.

We remain patient.

We wear our masks.

Most of all we….

Tomorrow will be a better day even if tomorrow is a short distance away. We don’t know what tomorrow yet, but it is coming. Life will go back to normal. We will carry the lessons that we learned We will hold onto those that carried us through 2020 in what ever way necessary. We will throw mask burning parties. We will do all of these things if we just have patience to get there.

As a runner, what I miss most about 2020 is races. Not even crossing the finish line, but racing with friends. Training for events. Planning events. Waiting at start line of events. I miss it terribly, but I have no desire to do any in person events right now. Everyone has their level of comfort and this is past mine. To be honest, I don’t much enjoy running in the park filled with other runners and walkers. There will be a day where that won’t even be a thought and I can’t wait.

So we wait.

We practice all the things we know we need to do….

We hold onto hope