In October I thought November was gonna be so awesome. I love Halloween but every year by the time October 31st comes I find myself saying ‘Phew! Thank goodness we can all stop partying now!’ Time for family holidays and warm beverages and in this particular year, the presidential election. I know many of us were feeling worn down by the lead up to this election and were hoping that after November 8th we could all relax a little.
Of course, that was never true. Even if we had not elected a big orange sexual predator with a message of xenophobia and racism and his VP, a literal monster, who wants to electrocute gays and force women to have funerals for their miscarriages Trump / Pence, it would not be time to relax. A Hillary white house would not have meant that the work was done- not by a long shot. Still, November 8th was a pretty serious blow to morale.
One of the reasons I was looking forward to a Hillary presidency was her commitment to address the epidemic of addiction in this country and to stop feeding the prison industrial system that is the shame of our nation. This is something that means a lot to me as my hometown has been torn apart by the scourge of heroin and opiate pill addiction. Many of the people I grew up with died young and of those who have survived this long, many are still struggling with addiction. And now, I am sad to say, another friend has lost the fight.
This has been a pretty lousy month so far.
I missed the Stache Dash 5K because I was rushing back to Maryland to be with my friends in the wake of the recent tragedy and I did not make time to make up the run once I arrived. I am proud to say that a couple people from my company still went and participated and we will definitely be showing up with a team to the upcoming Santa Dash to support Covenant House.
My amazing boss was incredibly supportive, allowing me to work remotely for that week and this one. But I found myself working in PJ bottoms every day, overwhelmed by my coursework for my data analytics class, and generally not making time to take care of my own mental health needs. I was feeling burnt out and consumed by negative emotions.
I had to take control back. When it’s hard to make time for running I can always make time for one mile. Deciding that one mile is enough “to count” was life changing, my dad feels the same way, he is always saying so. It’s hard to argue that you don’t have time for one mile. I mean, it’s literally 10 minutes.
So, I finally made time for a mile. It did not feel good… until it did. Getting back out to run after not doing it for a while can be hard but it is always worth it.
After the run I took a shower, I put on some make-up and I took some time to spend watching Ink Master with my sister and drawing in our sketch books. I also drank some water and took my vitamins. You cannot be happy and healthy if you are drinking only coffee and wine.
Everyone, go drink some water right now.
Suddenly everything else seemed to be easier. I had a breakthrough in my data analytics class on something I had been feeling stuck on, I got more done at work, and I started feeling like my to-do list was actually a manageable molehill and not an immovable mountain.
We went out again Sunday for another short run. Just a mile. Tomorrow we will go out again and on Friday we have plans for a longer run down to the beach. Scheduling time for running has done wonders to change my outlook.
However, running did not make my problems go away. I still have a lot of work to get done and not enough time. My loved ones in my hometown still face their struggles. My grandmother is in the hospital after a mini-stroke. Our country still has a long way to go and unfortunately the road ahead just got a lot more dangerous. But running did help me put my role in perspective. I cannot save everyone or solve every problem on my own, but the upshot is that no one expects me to.
I can do my part.
And I can practice gratitude in the meantime:
- I am thankful for the enduring friendships I made in my youth and for the love that has grown and changed over time between us all.
- I am thankful for my family. They are a port in the storm and a shining example of love amid the chaos.
- I am thankful that empathy is a learned skill that can be shared with others.
- I am thankful to be surrounded by strong, talented, inspiring women who lift each other up and defy the stereotype of the catty female friendship.
- I am thankful for work that I find challenging and enjoyable, and for a boss and a company culture that is supportive. It’s nice that I don’t have to question why “Caring” is the top of the Core Values list.
- I am thankful for Spotify and Audible.com
- I am thankful for the clarity and satisfaction I feel after a morning run.
- I am thankful for the sense of community I feel at a race.
- I am thankful for my cats- not everyone has such nice cats.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.