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Would it be cliche to quote Forest Gump on a running blog? Because as I sit here to write this, all I can think of is the quote (and read it in the Gump voice): “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get.”
Ahhh Forest’s mama’s words ring true in my life more than ever. It seems as of late, “planning” the path of my life has been a futile attempt. Or a disaster, take your pick. But somehow at the end of the day, even though nothing has worked out the way I planned, I still wake up every morning with a smile on my face, ready to face the new day. Which leads me to believe that the only way to survive, the only way to truly be happy, is to just LIVE. Take each day, each hour, each minute as it comes. Count your blessings. Thank God everyday for all that you DO have. Life really is amazing.
I’m not one that is afraid of growing older. Tomorrow marks the big 3-0, an age that many of my twenty-something peers seem to dread. I remember my 20th birthday like it was yesterday (though, thankfully it wasn’t or I’d have a mega hangover right now.) But I digress: at 20 years old I imagined that the next decade would be full of doing what you are “supposed” to do in life. You know, career, marriage, mortgage on a dream home, white picket fences, kids, mini van and soccer games, the whole shabang. By the time 30 rolled around, I’d have life all figured out, and be planning my way towards retirement already. Hahaha. So young and, well, stupid my thought process was. Clearly, I haven’t quite gotten to most of those things on the list, and quite honestly, I still feel like I’m just getting started.
There was a moment last week when it hit me, and I wondered if I should feel like a failure for not having my proverbial “sh*t” together by now. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that was a load of crap. Because instead of all of the things I “thought” I’d have checked off the life-to-do-list by now, I’ve added more than I’d ever dreamed of.
Ten years ago I never imagined I’d be sitting here writing to thousands of people who take the time out of their day to hear what I have to ramble about this time, never mind that most of these strangers are amazing athletes. Ten years ago you’d have to bribe me with something pretty intense…like a bottle of vodka and some Dominoes pizza in order for me to set foot in the gym. Today, that aforementioned career is *IN* a gym, sharing my enthusiasm for fitness (no bribes needed) and helping others become the best they can be. Ten years ago I remember my roommate asking me to run one, just one maybe quarter mile lap around the apartments on campus with her, and I thought it was horrific. Today, I’ve got 15 half marathons, 6 full marathons, and countless shorter distance races under my belt…because I LOVE to run. I never could have imagined the opportunities that have come my way, the people I’ve met, the trips I’ve taken, from simply doing what I love, networking with people who love the same thing, and following my dreams. Things have not always been perfect, but they’ve been pretty darn amazing.
In ten years I’ve loved, I’ve lost. I’ve succeeded, I’ve failed. I’ve cried happy tears as I brought life into this world, and cried heartbroken tears as I’ve watched friends leave this world. I’ve felt on top of the world and I’ve been humbled as I hit rock bottom. I’ve learned life lessons the hard way, and I’ve learned I have great people in my life to fall back on. I’ve felt hopeless, and I’ve found God. I’ve seen the worst in people, and best of all, I’ve learned how amazing and loving human beings *truly* are. I couldn’t have planned any of this if I tried…and I’m not sure I would even want to try. Because as a wise Beatle once said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” (John Lennon). You never know who will walk into your life and when. You never know what opportunities will come your way if you just believe in yourself and take your chances. You can never know. You just have to LIVE.
Nope, I’m not sad to see the past decade go. Instead I’m excited to see what’s next. Bring it on thirties…I know the best is yet to come .