Check me out! I was no joke in this pic. Back in 2014 I ran the New York City Marathon and to this day it remains one of the most incredible experiences of my life. You can see unadulterated joy in this picture, and it was not only race day itself that lifted my soul to heights I never thought possible, but really it was the entire journey leading up to the big day. It was tough, and one of the many sacrifices consisted of Friday nights sans cocktails, with a wake up call at 5am on Saturday. Again, why on earth would one put oneself through that? But the dedication and planning, along with support from friends and family helped me grow and enjoy life to the fullest. I was clear minded, truly happy most days, mentally and physically fit. It’s probably the only time in my life I fit into size four jeans. Don’t think that’s going to happen again any time soon.
Jump to 2020, just six years later. I am not going to bed at 9:30 in order to be up at the crack of dawn. Three miles is the longest distance I’ve run in a long, long time and the size four jeans are packed away in the basement…actually, I think I just gave up on those and passed them on. They are not in style now and by the time I fit into them, they probably won’t have come back into style. That could take years, folks.
Though I swore I would maintain a similar schedule even after the race ended, well, life happened. I am pretty much happy and healthy now, but at a much different level than it had been in 2014, and quite frankly, I’m not sure I would like to maintain that level of dedication as I have too many other passions to pursue.
What I do know for sure, is that I would like to raise my level of physical fitness and mental clarity, to be more dedicated to a better sleep routine (a goal I set every year, only to move forward in tiny, baby steps), and to work a little harder towards my goals than I currently am. Oh to be like Jeannie in the bottle and blink my eyes and whole self back to the 2014 mentality and dedication. But I’m Jenny, not Jeannie, so what’s my first order of business?
Start where you are! How many of us focus on who and what we were in the past, not acknowledging and validating who we are in the present? I have struggled with this big time and I have been working hard to get a handle on it. I would wistfully look at pictures of myself from days of yore and vacillate between berating myself for letting go of all the goal achieving habits I had created, and then in the next moment not recognize who I am in this moment. “This isn’t the real me,” I would think to myself, and look forward to days ahead when I would be my “true self,” that physically fit person who is doing everything according to plan and knocking her goals out of the park.
But the fact of the matter is that this is the real me. Denying who I am, not appreciating where I am, wishing and actually thinking I am someone other than who I am, will not get me any closer to my goals. It will only make me feel like poo.
What will get me closer is looking at myself in the mirror and recognizing that I am a worthy person who has accomplished much in her life, and is right now, in this moment, on a new path. It doesn’t matter that I wake up on Saturday mornings to do a three mile run rather than an 18 mile run and that I’m slower than molasses. I’m out there in the fresh air, setting goals, feeling good, taking in the sights and then chatting with my family about it afterwards (whether they want me to or not.) What could be better than that? Feeling bad about myself because I am not the person I was just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Feeling good about who I am and the choices I am making now is a much better route. Even when I screw it all up sometimes.
Don’t let looking back at the person you were, thwart you from the joys of today. Be like Elsa and let it go. It doesn’t just pertain to athletics or weight, but for anything you berate yourself over from the past. “Baby steps,” my friend Karen likes to say, as you start right where you are and move along your path. Keep your soles firmly planted where you are and your soul will thank you.