The Working Closet

where life meets style

opportunities and obligations

Myriad GardensRecently, my schedule has been full of Things I Would Rather Not Be Doing. This includes (but is not limited to) talking Henry through a panic attack at the doctor’s office (twice! yay!) and worrying about fifth grade basketball drama (don’t even ask). Not surprisingly, the stress has been bleeding over into all the rest of the things I do, including quite a few things I usually enjoy doing.

Like running.

I’ve signed up for two half marathons this fall; the first is this weekend. I’ve been training, but it’s been a slog — between the weather and the kids and the stress, I’ve struggled to get my miles in, and the miles I’ve run have not been particularly enjoyable. Running was starting to feel like one more thing I had to do, not something I chose to do.

It was getting me down. And then one morning, slogging along, trying to get my miles in, I remembered that I run because I want to. Period.

Running isn’t an obligation, it’s an opportunity.

I don’t have to run every day; I don’t have to sign up for races. I do those things because I choose them. Running gives me a chance to get out of my comfort zone, to see new places, to meet new people. It also gives me a chance to step away from the stress of my everyday life and just be somewhere else.

My runs have been better recently. I’m looking forward to this weekend’s half marathon. Finally.

I’m trying to see more things in my life as opportunities, rather than obligations, particularly the things I dislike doing. And I’m realizing that most of what’s on my to-do list every day can really be thought about as an opportunity, even the things that seem mundane. That includes the things that seem stressful — the things I would rather avoid. I’m also thinking about how opportunities aren’t always shiny and happy and fun. A long run is an opportunity to get stronger and faster, but it’s hard work, and it can be painful. Literally.

My day is full of opportunities. Some of them are easy to see, and some are harder. But I’m looking for them, closely and carefully.

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4 comments on “opportunities and obligations

  1. Kelly H
    October 16, 2013

    I really needed to hear this today. Thank you. Yes, life is full of opportunities. And how true that some of them ARE hard work. How boring would life be if everything was easy?? So many lessons learned from difficult opportunities – and such a great feeling of accomplishment when we’re through them. Which can be hard to see when you’re bogged down by the stresses of life, no?

    *I am also training for my 3rd half marathon and feel the same way you do about running. I love it. (Most days) Love how it makes me feel and how I feel after. It’s a great release. And yes, at times it can feel like a chore. But now I’ll look at it as an opportunity. Thank you!

  2. Melinda Ziskinder
    October 16, 2013

    Sometimes life seems overwhelming and we just wanna crawl under the covers and block it all out (well, that’s my MO when i feel overwhelmed). Glad to see you getting your groove back. I’ve checked out your other blog/column btw. Good stuff.

  3. stella tinglin-webb
    October 17, 2013

    Thanks for this post. Really needed to read that today. I am in the process of healing from a broken ankle which prevents me from doing my usual fitness routine. It is so frustrating to feel like you have to go back to square one with all of it. I am trying to look at it as an opportunity of some sort. I do believe that the universe has a plan for all of us even though we don’t always see what that purpose is.

  4. kgseymour
    November 6, 2013

    I really love this (and I’m not sure how I missed it when it went up — sorry!). My mantra is “Smile and think about how lucky you are” whenever I’m running (or biking, or whatever) and it feels like a slog. It almost always works. Because, seriously, how fortunate am I that I have the time to train, a body that will let me, and the resources to go to these races? Not to mention having friends and family who support it? It’s pretty amazing, really.

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2013 by in everyday life.
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