I’m an avid Runner’s World reader and have been for many years. Each month I will pick one article from the magazine (suggestions welcome!) to discuss and we can kick around thoughts, opinions and reflections. We’ll stay one issue behind the most current so that non-subscriber’s can read along on the RW website. It’ll be like a book club, except less Jane Austen and more sweat. So grab a cup of Joe or tea (see, it is just like a book club!) and jump into the fray!
January 2013- New Year New You
I know by the end of January most people have had it up to here with year lists, resolutions and proclamations of all kinds, so fear not, that is not actually the point if this post. Although it is a nice ‘lil article detailing specific things that you can do over the course if the year to improve your running and I do recommend it.
What this article sparked in me were thoughts about change- what precipitates it, how capable of it we are and how likely it is that we will.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tended to think that people just are who they are and that instead of trying to change someone, you should just accept them. It’s far easier to just let people fly their freak flags than try to convince them that they should swap it out for a sensible decorative flag, perhaps something with autumn leaves on it.
But the flip side of me thinks that no one should settle for an unsatisfying status quo, especially when there are so many resources at all of our fingertips to make those good changes- everything from therapists that can get you back on course to finding a support system that encourages positive changes to tiny things like having the luxury to go for a walk to calm your spirit.
The situation is made murkier by looking at my own life, where some things have remained the same and some have wildly fluctuated. Let me take you on a Kashi Tour of the last 20 years:
Age 15 – I am cheerful the vast majority of the time, a runner who hates racing, someone who eats a Honey Bun (or more often nothing) for breakfast, with a messy bedroom and a pretty flexible attitude. I dream of a life outside of Elmer where I’ll be a businesswoman living in the city and married by my late 20s to a man equally successful. No kids, thanks.
Age 25 – I am cheerful the vast majority of the time, a runner who rarely races, someone who eats a honey granola or French toast bagel for breakfast, who dreams of a full-time job as a biologist and can’t imagine living in a city. No marriage or kids, thanks, career is where it is at!
Age 35 – I am cheerful the vast majority of the time, a runner who now loves racing, someone who eats oatmeal for breakfast, who is grateful for the life I have and dream of a day where GD and I live long and happy lives as snowbirds (I seriously cannot handle the cold anymore!) . No kids, thanks. I thrive on routine and get discombobulated when things go off kilter. I prefer things neat as a pin, but there are exceptions in places like my office and my car’s trunk. My marriage is the most important thing in my life.
My life is filled with different “me’s” peeking out at each corner. You can always count on me to be enthusiastic and supportive, which has never changed, but I have gotten more rigid as the years have passed (perhaps that is why I have remained so cheerful – the rigid side of me respects and maintains the consistency, lol). I feel that I have to constantly work on that side of myself so I don’t go full-on robot. It’s as if over time, my personality traits (for better or worse) just get more entrenched and harder to change.
Which is why I am always so taken with stories of people who break their mental bonds and come out on the other side more closely resembling the person they want to be. People change careers, lose weight, start running, stop smoking, beat depression and anxiety every day. But what makes the day they decide to do it become the day they do do it?
I really don’t know and your thoughts on this are what I am interested in hearing. I have gone through different changes in my life, but they generally happened organically, over time. There are not too many instances where I can point to and say “that was the moment and here is why”. The ones I can identify are often on the heels of feeling like “enough is enough, time for a change!”
So tell me, have you undergone major changes? Know people that have? What gets them cranking? Is it a something small like a RW article or a big epiphany?