Randomly

Gratitude.

I have a hard time acknowledging that maybesometimesonce in awhile…there might be good qualities I have that are not necessarily common to everyone in the world.

Even typing that sentence I’m like…nah…I everyone does that good thing I do.

It’s not that I think everyone is inherently awesome and good, or that I think I’m inherently not good. It’s just that I don’t think there’s anything special about me that would make my good traits that unusual or unique. I just assume any characteristic that is special and good in me exists in everyone because I am too [insert appropriate derogatory characteristics here: lazy, boring, selfish, narcissistic] to really have any inherently interesting and good quality.

Does any of that make sense?

A perfect example is people who are just AMAZED at the stuff I do. And I constantly try to point out to people: I am NOT doing anything more than you are doing. I’m just doing different things that show up more on Facebook. For example, I don’t clean my floors or scrub my toilets but once a month before family dinner. I cook meals that require less than 5 minutes of prep time. I don’t fold clothes. I don’t iron. I don’t fix my hair or do my makeup. I don’t go to church. I don’t have to commute for my job. I don’t have to even shower for work. There are TONS of things that the average person does during the day that I don’t do…so I get much more time to do the FUN stuff. And deep down? I feel like that’s pretty selfish of me. So, I don’t like it when people try to compliment me for doing things like – training for endurance races – because I’m making a lot of sacrifices that might affect my family, just so I can do that stuff. Also? I have circumstances (like working from home) that are not anything complimentary of ME, but just lucky, so I don’t like taking those type of things as compliments. The only things that allows me to DO all of the things I DO are 1) Luck and 2) Selfishness.

In other words, if you had the luck and the selfishness I had? You could train for marathons too!

So! Me: Unable to see any “good” quality I may have as “good” or “unique” in any way.

BUT! You see these pictures after our marathon that FOUR different friends took of you:

armsup

And you think about the good headspace you were in for your entire race that had you smiling and happy most of the time…and you hear so many people make comments about how happy you looked and you start to think…

Okay…maybe this is a characteristic that not EVERYONE in the ENTIRE WORLD has: Extreme joy when running a marathon.

A lot of it was – of course – just having that elusive “good day“. But most of it was due to an OVERWHELMING feeling of gratitude during the entire race on Saturday.

Gratitude towards my city and the super-supportive running community.

Gratitude towards volunteers standing in the rain.

Gratitude towards police and HEMSI who provided tons of aid to our racers.

Gratitude towards friends and family who came out to cheer.

But the majority of the gratitude, the part that probably makes it the most unique, was just me being grateful for MY body and MY life that gave ME the opportunity to run that marathon. I felt so INCREDIBLY lucky to have a life and a body that allowed me to be out there. I’ve heard several stories about people who have to stop running for various reasons (my husband is actually on the temporary injured list himself) and then several people who can’t run – either because of their life or their body. And I just couldn’t help but be so grateful that my body was able to run, and that my life allowed me to to train for that day, and to run that race.

I couldn’t help but smile.

It was weird, because I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced that on a race. Just that feeling that I am so very blessed to be running a marathon. I mean, how many people want to do that but can’t because their lifestyle or their bodies don’t let them. Or what about people who’s lifestyles and bodies WOULD let them but they don’t have the confidence or the supportive community to encourage them. I have ALL of it. The healthy body. The flexible lifestyle, the supportive family and community. All of the perfect pieces to put me at the start-line of that marathon.

And I just felt overwhelmingly grateful and lucky and I felt like I owed it to everyone else who couldn’t be there to be HAPPY. There are dozens of people just in my own life who would have loved to have the opportunities and the health to be there that day, but couldn’t. So, for THEM, I wanted to be happy. Be joyful. Be grateful.

So, when people commented on my smiles and my joy and my enthusiasm…I tried to take a moment to thank them and a moment to recognize that maybe I was unique in this type of feeling and maybe I should be grateful for that too.

I guess my biggest takeaway from this marathon is that feeling. That feeling of being blessed to be running. I hope I can channel that again at my next race because I’d love to always be in touch with that feeling of gratitude so I could always be as joyful about the experience as I was on Saturday.

3 thoughts on “Gratitude.”

  1. I love this post! And your happy faces while running! And how it all really does circle back to gratitude!

    Also, you might think this is interesting or an “aha” kind of thing, but (and I only notice this because I’m a language-y person. It’s my job and all) — at the point in the entry where you shift from talking about how you don’t normally think you’re anything special to the race day pictures and how just maybe you could think about yourself in a more positive light — you changed how you were talking. You shifted from first person to second person. “You look at the pictures, you remember how happy you were,” etc…It’s like you’re still kind of deflecting that positive attention instead of owning it.

    That’s not a criticism AT ALL! Just an interesting thing to note. I think we all do it. And it’s a subtle way that we detract from ourselves without really realizing it.

    And in closing, I want to be you when I grow up. 🙂

  2. The way you’re stand/running with your arms up made me think of this Ted Talk http://on.ted.com/Cuddy
    Which only reminded me of you because we both sometimes feel anxiety/lack of confidence in social settings… So it’s a little tangential, but I found it to be a really fascinating TedTalk and I thought you might like it too…

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