2021 was supposed to be our year. We had plans to travel. We had plans for time. The plans of the past thirteen years were supposed to reveal themselves as a tried and true testament to the belief “work hard and you will succeed.” We felt that we finally got to that place. Then it was March 12, 2020 and it only took a few days. It was all gone.
I am not writing to revisit the past ten months. It’s been uncertain and scary, and truthfully there are days where I just don’t think I can take any more. It’s too much. I haven’t felt this since Henry was born and I was struggling with unexpected and intense postpartum depression. I remember one day in particular when Mitchell was playing with Bridget and I was feeding Henry in the glider chair in his nursery. Mitchell walked in happy and peppy, as he normally was. Why did he get to feel that way? All of the sudden, my feelings and the core of who I was didn’t exist – my insides were uninhabited as if it all came out with the baby. I told him I didn’t care if we stayed married and that he could leave. Out of nowhere, unprovoked, I said something completely unforgivable. And why? I was mad that he had the ability to laugh and get through the days without a struggle. The world that existed around me was moving and I was in the middle, alone, standing completely still. I sought out help through my friends. Then I tried therapy. None of it worked. I was sluggish. I was idle. I was irate. And I didn’t know what to do.
So then I tried something completely outside of my comfort zone. I started to run. And when I did, it was life changing. Running was the only thing that helped me to deal with the struggles. It helped me to shed the feelings of hopelessness and uselessness. I felt energized and I had the stamina to keep up with a toddler and a baby. It made me a better mother and it made me a better wife. It made me a better me. Running worked.
Six years later, the struggles that are currently on my plate are draining. I cry a lot. I lament when I think about what 2021 could have been for us and what it was supposed to be.
I feel sorry for myself when I see others that have benefited from the pandemic, making plans and moving forward in life. I get angry when I see others completely unaffected by this COVID-era, living in a bubble. I feel unglued. I worry about our future. I worry about my family getting sick. A culmination of these worries have caused me to revisit that place where I’m standing in the middle of the world and everything is moving around me. Going back to this place terrifies me. This past Thursday was a hard day. You could have pinched me and I’m not sure I would have felt it. It was 8:00 at night and the fatigue was unbearable between a never ending day at work, the kids, homework, basketball practice, laundry, dinner, cleaning, walking the dogs, etc. My options were to go to bed early and lay there while my thoughts and worries plagued me or I could get dressed in my running clothes and get on the treadmill. I opted for the latter and completed four miles. I walked off the treadmill sweaty and fulfilled and I slept like a baby.
running in 2021
While the plans for the other areas in my life might be on hold, the sights I have set for myself as a runner are bright. I am in control of my running goals. I am in control of who my kids see when I get dressed and head out the door, even on the hardest days. I am in control when I have the option to sleep for another 30 minutes and wake up to run instead. And yes, sometimes these feelings and worries surface when I run. But I have learned to channel them and use them as a driving force.
I am going to be forty years old in 2021 and I have to believe that I am capable of becoming the best version of myself. Always a work in progress, but achievable nonetheless.
Running got me through this standstill in 2014, and I know it will do it again.