RACE WEEK! Finally, it’s here! As is spring! Everywhere lilacs explode like fireworks. Birds are condominiumizing each eve and shutter. Just yesterday I swear a fox winked at me. Or sneezed. I’ll stick with winked—it sounds better.
If I’m honest, I don’t exactly feel ready. I’ve missed all but one of my exercise goals, I can’t seem to stop eating carrot cake, and I have this ridiculous t-shirt shaped sunburn. Worse yet, last post I described “process” as a refuge for the rudderless, so I have nowhere to nurse a bruised self-image.
At times, life can seem like an endless series of setbacks that only the most deft among us make look deliberate, if not graceful. My brother is that way. To see him change a flat tire is like watching Misty Copeland paint watercolors. Me, I’m all elbows and uff-da. I’m also what self-empowerment author Deborah Ward calls an HSP: a Highly Sensitive Person. We HSPs, she writes, “react to difficult situations, either by withdrawing, shutting down, giving up or falling prey to depression.” Consequently, dealing with discouragement elicits a flurry of contradictory emotions that I’m learning to let settle before making decisions.
Now that I think of it, my expectations may need a little recalibrating. Not to be confused with quitting, by recalibration I mean to reacquaint myself with the “why” behind what I’m doing. Why go running, after all, if you’re not reaching your measures? If it makes you feel like a failure, what’s the point?
Some years ago, my wife and I lived in Chicago where I loved to jog along the busy streets. Of course, I was younger then, more fleet of foot, not yet a father. All that big city hustle and bustle seemed to surge up through the concrete sidewalk and into my legs. At the risk of sounding cliché, it felt like flying.
There were hard days, too. One in particular, I remember thinking I’d lost my darn mind—so many cars, so much exhaust. The July sun might as well been six inches from the top of my head. Distracted, I turned the corner and nearly bowled over a woman in a wheelchair enjoying some shade. In response to my effusive apology, she said, “I’d give anything to trade with you.”
I smiled and chuckled, tried to reference the incredible heat. A maybe-not-today sort of gesture.
“I’m serious,” she said, deadpan. “Anything.”
Jogging home, I remember the distinct feeling that the why behind my motives sure could use a tune-up. Here I was bemoaning a run I’d chosen to take, while this nice woman would trade everything for the opportunity to choose.
Once again, today, I am in need of a little reminding.
So why register MHCGM’s 8th annual Lite up the Night run/walk for Mental Health 5k? Here’s my list:
What, I wonder, is your why for taking part in the Lite up the Night 5k? I certainly would love to know.