“What are we doing? We’re crazy!” I gasp to my running buddy as I struggle to keep up in the dark. “Who said we should drag our asses out and run these hills at dawn?” I jokingly say- knowing full well it was me.
Well, I didn’t think we’d spend most of our time groaning and hoping to be done. I thought we’d look like the women in the running magazines- or at least I hoped. They look all thin and athletic and sexy. But they also look about 25 years old. I looked pretty good when I was 25 too- but I haven’t seen those years in a long, long time. Now I just feel fat and old and I’m huffing and puffing up and down these hills.
I shake it off and tell myself that we’re out here running and that’s what counts. So I try to ignore the pain and we talk to pass the time. Well, mostly we grumble about whatever is wrong with our lives. For me, it’s my weight. For my buddy it’s her job- and we do a good job at bitching about both.
But just when I’m about to swear that the last hill is going to kill me, I have an epiphany. In an effort to get healthy in our bodies- we were also trying to get healthy in our heads. I realize that this is a good routine we have-running and talking. A long talk with a girlfriend is the best therapy you can have for your troubles. And, the long talk is the best part of this run.
And I seem to know alot of women who need this “good friend” kind of therapy.
First there’s my running buddy. She’s unhappy at work. She’s the breadwinner of the family so her job is really important to her. Although her job is a good one, she’s frustrated with a boss that’s a poor manager. It’s making her miserable and she can’t shake it. There’s no way to promote from within the company so she feels trapped. It feels as though she’s asking herself “Is that all there is to this job?”
My sister is in a different boat. She’s always been a stay at home Mom. She says she’s going through a holiday depression, but actually she’s depressed all the time. The kids are grown and don’t need her as much as they did before. And she is not sure what her job is now. She’s asking herself “Is that all there is to my life?”
Then there is another friend. She’s one of those people who have always been good at everything. She’s always cool, always beautiful, and almost always the smartest woman in the room. But the one thing she can’t do is get her husband to pay attention to her. He goes to great lengths to make sure she feels ignored- it’s almost comical. Plenty of other men show her attention- but that’s not what she wants. She wants him. This is the guy she thought she’d be spending her life with. She’s asking herself “Is that all there is to this marriage?”
For me, I’m having a hard time getting old. I want to look and feel good. I want to have fun and I want my body to continue to be able to do things. I want be the person that’s always looking for adventure- partying in Vegas, jumping out of airplanes, kayaking in the moonlight, and hiking Half-Dome. But I’m having a hard time keeping up and keeping the weight off. The older I get- I ask myself “Is that all there is to my fun?”
I know there are people out there who think that these women shouldn’t be complaining. As a matter of fact some people say these are first world problems. But for each of us, something very important is missing from our lives. And, it’s something that nothing else can make up for.
Is that all there is? It’s a good question. Is this all I’m meant to have now? We thought we’d be happier with this job, this partner, or this body. We think we should have things the way we want them. We have money, we have health, we’re smart, and hard workers. Why should we settle for less than total happiness?
I think women today are truly amazing- and deserve all the best that life has to offer. We aren’t like our Mothers. There were more rules for them and maybe they were happier following them. The world was very different for them. Now we have a lot more choices. We can rewrite the rules to make the most of our lives.
No matter how happy you make everyone else (kids, partner, boss) you still have to make yourself happy or you’re living a half-life. We do have alot of power over our lives, but sometimes it’s hard to see our way clearly. We have everything in our power to be happy and have what we want- if we take advantage of it.
The problem is we need to be brave enough to make changes, especially if it means we can’t take care of everyone else at the same time. Most of us have others in our lives that need us. Some might not want us to change. That’s okay- they’ll get used to it. But I know that I will not be happy with my current self, and maybe you feel that way too. I don’t want to look 25, but I want to look and feel great- and I can start today. I have to have faith that the people that love me will continue to love me no matter what.
Yeah, I know, sometimes life throws us curve-balls and we are in a place we never thought we’d be. It can seem really unfair. But those situations can also be times of tremendous growth. So for now, let’s put that aside and start thinking of the possibilities we do have.
Sometimes the best friend therapy tells us to stop complaining and start acting. It’s ok to vent for a while, getting things off your chest is good. But at some point taking action is the right thing to do.
My first step is to believe- believe in myself, believe I can do it and believe that there is no reason for me to sit around asking “Is that all there is?” Taking the first step is what we should do if we feel there is something better for us. Take just one little step for today.
I guess that’s why I’m out there running…..