Tag Archives: personal

Don’t Build your Own Glass Ceiling

Last weekend, I decided to run a 5k while on vacation in San Diego. I grew up there and knew the course would be pretty flat and a quick one. I was looking to PR. Not that it would be difficult because I do not run 5ks very often (prefer 10k and half-marathons) and my last time was 29:55, circa 2008. To commit, I told a few people I was aiming to run a 26:00 and under…because I knew that was pretty safe. I was pretty sure I could run an average of an 8:20ish mile for 3.1 miles.

Saturday AM, I’m running on adrenaline and Nespresso. I keep thinking about what my run coach/friend/ass-whooper O texted me: Don’t doubt yourself!!! At the end of the day it’s only 26 minutes of your life. I have a bad habit of holding back, even during workout runs.  It’s partly subconscious; am I worried that if I go out too fast, I might get tired/run out of gas and then what…God forbid…have to walk?! So this time I tried to just run as good as I felt, while glancing at my Garmin every 5 minutes or so rather than every 30 seconds. When I was coming around the bend and saw the finish line (and my dad standing there cheering me on), I knew I would make my goal. What I didn’t know then was that I ran an average 7:56/mi pace and won first in my age division! I couldn’t have been more excited. Ok, maybe my dad was more excited. It was an amazing start to a great day–which was followed by an afternoon spent at the beach and awesome dinner with my visiting BFF. I also learned a good lesson: don’t hold back, (applies to racing and, well, life in general): putting your whole self out there, even if you fail, is always gonna be a win. My new goal? Sub-24!

Race morning. In another lifetime, I was to be married at this spot. Life has a sense of humor, so it's probably best I do too!

Race morning. In another lifetime, I was to be married here. Life has a sense of humor, so it’s probably good that I do too :)

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Brand New Day

Haleakala at sunrise.

Haleakala at sunrise.

During the Missing Year, I often searched for meaning in unexpected places.  You know you’re probably not in the best shape when you look to fortune cookies, songs on the radio, and graffiti for hope, a sign from the Universe, anything really, to convince you to keep hanging on for dear life.

Just after the new year, I was driving on a wide expanse of highway that has a view of the city. A Joshua Radin song came on the Pandora station I happened to be listening to:

It’s a brand new day
The sun is shining
It’s a brand new day
For the first time in such a long long time
I know, I’ll be ok

—Joshua Radin, Brand New Day

And at that moment, it occurred to me that I finally, truly believed that last line again. And with it came a huge sense of relief and gratitude that I thought would never come. But no matter how bad the nightmare is, there is always a morning.

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I Love My Mom

The second worst thing about the Missing Year (which was actually 17 months, to be exact) other than having to live through it, was watching my parents live through it. As mentioned previously, I was not only absent from my own life, but also from the lives of those I love. I am well aware how lucky I am to have parents who are spry and healthy at their age, but I regret causing them to age exponentially last year. After a previous episode many years ago, I vowed not to put them through that again. I failed.

I have said before that my mother has given me life more than once. Even though she didn’t completely understand what I was going through, didn’t always say the right thing (my last iPhone met its demise when I hurled it on the floor during one of our conversations—a move that is very uncharacteristic of me and also not so smart if you have hardwood floors), she has always made it clear that she is there for me, no matter what. There were many months when I didn’t want my parents to visit and sometimes did not even want to speak on the phone. I know this was hard on them, especially my mom, whom I often chat with on my commute to work when I am in my usual state of mind. She put her feelings aside and let me know that I should do what I needed to do, but that I could always pick up the phone and she would be there. Even as I started to function better “on the outside” (e.g. with strangers, at work), in the comfort of those closest to me, I regressed to being a sullen teen. I hated myself for not being able to act more mature, sitting there with a long face and monosyllabic answers. While it must have been hard, she comforted me by saying that I shouldn’t feel like I had to pretend around family, that I could be whoever I was at the moment and I was still loved.

From what my friends who are parents have explained, there is nothing worse than seeing their child in pain. Worse yet, to feel helpless in the face of pain that they cannot fix. I know I felt awful when I saw my mom crying and knew it was because of me.

So, as much as it has been a joy to me to feel better, it has made me especially happy to see my parents also get back to their normal lives as well. The spark in my mom’s eyes is also back; her posture, the expression on her face, lighter and relaxed. Again, I am so very, very grateful to be feeling like myself again. And so very grateful for the most supportive parents one could ask for.

My mom loves her some emoticons!

My mom loves her some emoticons!

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Unbelievably Grateful

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This quote has a permanent place on my fridge to remind me to be grateful of what I have and not to get caught up in what I still want (air quotes) and do not currently have. It reminds me that there is a big difference between “wants” and “needs.”

I have dealt with depression before (most recently, the entirety of 2014, which I refer to as the Missing Year because I was missing from my own life and the lives of those I love and care about). Suffice it to say that for months on end, I was only able to sleep 3-4 hours per night. And sometimes, as I was finally falling asleep, I wished that I wouldn’t wake up. Not because I wanted to die, but because I didn’t know if I could get through another day feeling the way I was feeling.

Yesterday, I was running along a favorite path that I hadn’t been to in a while. The sun was shining, it was 80 degrees out (a big apology for mentioning this to all East Coasters and Midwesterners) and I was running faster than my usual pace.  I do not listen to music when I run. Partly because when I am not depressed, I value my life and don’t want to be surprised by traffic, but partly so I have time to think or just listen to my breath or feet hitting the ground. It’s probably the closest I get to meditation. Yesterday, the thought crossed my mind: even if nothing in my life changed from how it is right now, I would be okay with it. In fact, more than okay. I am happy right here, right now. And for my friends who saw me through 2014, they know how this is nothing short of a miracle. And how incredibly grateful I am to have been restored to myself.

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