Every year that passes, this body of mine that is traveling along with me around the sun continues to surprise and frustrate me. I still feel 28 inside, but my bathroom mirror tells me otherwise. There are days my bones and joints are a combination of “let’s go hike a mountain” and “good luck unloading your groceries from the car today.” It’s a weird mix.
But with age comes wisdom, or at least enough life experiences to learn a thing or two. In my past I-know-everything era, I was positive about so many things; but as the years tick by, I feel a quiet confidence in admitting I have been wrong. A lot.
For example, I learned just this month that I’ve been misguided about tuna melts. I was sooooo sure a tuna melt sandwich for lunch would be a heap of regret. Turns out it was my deep distaste for mayo that was actually preventing me from enjoying the classic grilled delight. I discovered a recipe with greek yogurt and a dash of hot sauce that is now my top choice for a midday meal. Long live the tuna melt! Forgive me for ever doubting you!
What else have I been wrong about? My own capacity for discomfort.
Once upon a time I saw people running outside in winter and thought, Idiots. Running outside in single-digit temps, in wind, in snow? Hard pass. Absolutely not.
I could not have been more mistaken. The idiot, it turns out, was me.
It must have been a combination of no treadmill, not wanting to lose my running base over the winter, and three young children at home that pushed me out the door. Regardless, as the temps dropped, I added more layers and voluntarily ran outside during the coldest part of the year. And I am so grateful I did, because my most enchanting, bad*ass runs were all in freezing conditions and inches of snow. I discovered there’s no better feeling than running beneath the pine trees in the midst of a snowfall, surrounded by silence except for the sound of my own steady breathing. I end my miles feeling exhilarated and alive in a way I have yet to replicate anywhere else.
I had been so utterly, fully wrong.
The coldest, snowiest adventures turn out to be the best
My capacity for discomfort is so much more than I give myself credit for. I didn’t realize the depth of my own resiliency until I put it to the test. Sometimes through running and epic endurance events, and sometimes through life experiences I did not sign up for.
2023 has been one of the worst years for me and my family. The past 11 months have resembled a meat grinder, crushing our hearts and pummeling our best laid plans. There have been months and weeks and days when I believed I could not handle one more crisis or phone call with bad news or scary diagnosis. But I was wrong.
Despite the waves of stress and sadness, I keep showing up and pushing through.
I believe we rise to the occasion not because we choose to but because we have no other choice. No one wants their family to suffer just to prove their own strength; but when it happened to us, I’m (mostly) grateful I was wrong about my own resiliency. Turns out I’m stronger than I thought.