Well, I’m running down the road
Trying to loosen my load
In 2019, I’m running a half-marathon. Alongside my parents and one of my best friends, I am officially signed up for April’s Star Wars Rival Run at Walt Disney World. I’m so excited I can barely stand it. I haven’t been to Disney World since college, and I am ready to surrender myself once more to the Mouse’s warm embrace. When I don’t know what to do with myself these days, I find myself on Disney’s website, daydreaming about what rides I’ll ride, what treats I’ll eat, and what characters I’ll hug.
I’m so excited.
There are a couple of other big things that are happening to me in 2019. First of all, I’m going to turn 30, which I’m actually anticipating with mostly excitement. When I look back on my 20’s, I see a lot of important growth and learning, I see moments, days, weeks, months, and years of joy and light and friendship and art, and, finally, I see a deep, dark sadness that almost undid me. When I think specifically of my early 20s, I think of a girl who wasn’t just lost but staunchly unwilling to find herself lest it compromise what she thought would be the Great Love Story of Her Life.
So, I had to work hard in my mid to late 20s. I went to a lot of therapy, I went to the psychiatrist, I got my diagnosis, I tried various medications until I found some that seemed to do some good, I practiced yoga. I’ve been trying to shake off the phantom of that lost girl. Because I really hate her. I blame her. I still have nightmares about awful things that she did. She disgusts me.
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
This half-marathon means a lot of things to me. I’m so thrilled to have something over which I can really connect with my runner parents. I think constantly about the post-race breakfast that I’ll get to have with my best friend. I can’t wait to prove that I– a soft, sad noodle with marshmallow guts– can do anything so physically taxing. I can’t wait to feel fast and strong and free.
I’m ready to outrun this last decade a little bit. I want to tuck all of the good bits into my sports bra to hold them close, and I want the bad stuff to fuck the fuck off. I’m ready to be fast and strong and free. I’m ready to be a role model for lost girls in their early 20s. I’m ready to tell them that all the hard, painful work is worth it, because eventually you just might want to stay alive so much that you’re actually excited about the prospect of running 13.1 miles at 5:30am.
Lately, when the brain goblins come out of hiding, I’m able to hold them off just by lacing up my shoes, and putting in my headphones. I can’t hear the self-loathing over the huffing and puffing and rocking out to my Spotify playlist.
We may lose and we may win
Though we will never be here again
Here’s the other momentous thing happening to me in 2019: I’m either moving to another state for the first time in my adult life, or I’m starting up a long-distance relationship with my partner of almost six years. I’m terrified and a little heartbroken by either prospect.
So, there’s this big uncertainty in my life that will eventually turn into a storm of action– researching, visiting, decision making. Plus there’s turning 30 and there’s running 13.1 miles and there’s SO MANY EXCITING NERD MOVIES HAPPENING.
I feel like 2019 will not be a year of much rest.
Just find a place to make your stand and
My most-listened-to song of 2018 is one of the songs on my running playlist: 1972’s “Take It Easy” by The Eagles. I didn’t set out to make this song my jam this year. But it’s the song that I can never skip while I’m out jogging, no matter how many times I hear it. Maybe it’s the advice that I wish I could zap back in time to share with my former self.
From the time that I was young, there have been people very close to me who have called me lazy. I get it. I like sleep and I like snacks and I like kicking back with a good movie or TV marathon. The more I was accused of laziness, the more I came to hate myself for ever taking a break or relaxing in any way. Any time not spent actively achieving SOMETHING was shameful.
I wish I could tell my younger self that working hard and taking it easy don’t have to be mutually exclusive. When I go out to run, I feel like I’m doing both. I mean, I’m definitely working hard. I’m sweating and dripping snot and finishing up with sore, tired legs. But I’m also finding joy in being outside and listening to my music. In giving myself a break from all the things I do that are harder on my brain and on my heart than they are on my legs. My legs have always been able to take it better than my brain and my heart.
You’re not a lazy person for giving yourself a break, whatever that looks like for you. Anything you choose to do engages some important part of you, no matter how small. Take a nap if you need it! Don’t let anyone else, let alone yourself, make you feel bad for how you nourish and replenish. Because you are fast and strong and free, and you are so capable of whatever delights and challenges that 2019 is waiting to toss your way.
Take it easy.