In three words, I can sum up everything I know about life. It. Goes. On.
I have been a bit lazy for the last month but my workouts are about to come back in full force as I get ready to run my second half marathon of the year. Two in one year – that’s something I never thought I’d do!
As I’ve been getting back into running, I have lots of time to think. That’s what running does, let’s my mind wander, in a therapeutic way. Lately, it keeps wandering to the same thing. In the last 9 months I’ve lost two people who were very important to me. Who I loved very much. I think about wanting to call or text them and then I remember they are gone. Most people know what that’s like (if you don’t, you’re seriously blessed).
I don’t pretend to understand why humans can feel things like sadness or heartache in their chests. It makes sense to me as I run that I can feel the work I’m doing, my heart pumping more blood at a quicker pace. But the other thing I feel, the loss… it sits there too. It’s just as real.
I run past houses with their warm windows at twilight and I think about dinning room tables. How I will never sit across from these people I miss again. That holidays will pass and I won’t watch them open presents. I hear my feet on the pavement and think about my race and any other race I will ever do and my wish for them to be at the finish line to hug me. My heart keeps working and sometimes, I don’t know how. And its not because I’m running super fast.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take all the people we wanted with us, for as long as we wanted? But that’s not the way life works. People go, for a million different reasons, even if we don’t want them to. And we are left with pieces and memories and thoughts that can’t be resolved.
I know what it’s like to feel pain and disappointment that consumes you, drains you, weighs on you. There was a time not too long ago when such thoughts would have derailed me. They would have sent me to my couch to numb my feelings with chips, dip and candy. Not that it solves anything, but that’s what I would do impulsively because I thought it made me feel ‘better’. In reality, it didn’t let me feel anything. Not the pain, but also not the joy.
I’ve faced the fact that I don’t have control over everything I wish I had control over. There are things my tears will never change. But I do have control over how I live my life today. Today, I ate food that was good for me. Today, I went for a run – even though I knew it would force me to think about things that hurt. Today, I got closer to my goals.
I’ve also learned that pain, when it’s not stuffed down but allowed to come out, is full of energy. Negative emotions can be harnessed and channelled in very productive ways. I ran today and I thought about the people I miss and I hoped that if they knew what I was doing, they would be happy for me or proud. I went a mile further than I planned on going. Somewhere in that extra mile, I found a little bit of peace. Even if it only lasts for today.
Multiple trainers scream it on television – “USE IT! If you’re sad or frustrated or angry, use it!” And it might seem cheese ball when you’re sitting on your couch eating pizza. But in reality, it totally works.
Whatever you feel in your heart today – USE IT. Use it to do something amazing. For yourself, for someone else, it can be whatever you want – just USE it. Once you use it, it will go away little by little. And that’s so much better for you than pushing it down.