What have you had to give up? As adults, life gets in the way of our own passions and interests. An extensive work project comes up, someone gets sick, we have a new baby, a worldwide pandemic shuts down access to activities. No matter the reason, it’s disheartening to put aside the things that bring you joy and release to manage the priorities of the day.
I have been an athlete my whole life; I wasn’t a stand-out, but sports and competing were some of my joys. I took up running in adulthood to fulfill that drive. I reveled in the ability to build stamina, increase my pace, push my limits. I found joy in progressing from 5K runs, to 15K, to Warrior Dash, to sprint triathlon, to a half marathon. A few years ago I injured my knee during a workout class. Now in my 40’s, healing seemed to be taking forever. I was anxious to return to running. I would rest, ice, and then when I felt better, I tried to run again. I would complete a mile and then have to stop because of pain. It took two years of cortisone shots, physical therapy, and ongoing rehab to return to some sort of normal. I started to build back up my running routine. At first, all I could do was a slow mile. I felt deflated at this achievement because it was so far from what I used to be able to do. I was so focused on what I used to do, that I didn’t appreciate what I could still do. I felt that if I couldn’t achieve the level I had in the past, maybe it wasn’t worth it. I was tired of starting over again and again.
Slowly, my knee was able to support me on longer runs; one mile turned to two, then three, then four pain-free miles. My pace began to drop; first by 10 seconds per mile, then 30, then a minute. As I improved, I realized I may never fully return to where I was 10 years ago and pre-injury. I could either be disappointed in what I could no longer do, or be grateful for what I could still manage. I could frame this period as having to start over again or think of it as a reSTART. With a reSTART all I had to do was START. It didn’t matter where I was in the process or what my end result was, I just had to START. I could be thankful for what I could still do and find joy in that. I was the only one who cared how far or how fast I could run, I was my own worst critic. Once I began telling myself to just reSTART and see what I could do, the joy returned, no matter what my pace or distance said I achieved that day. I remembered how I had to reSTART after the birth of my two children. I remembered how I would reSTART after a long winter of indoor workouts. I vowed that no matter how successful I was, if I could reSTART I was winning.
What have you had to give up? If you could reSTART again, what would you choose? Would you revisit a prior passion for art, playing a musical instrument, or being more active? What would you reSTART if you knew that just the process of reSTARTing was the measure of success? No matter how long it’s been, or how many times you’ve tried in the past, today, reSTART.
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