A dream came true today.
I was featured in an article in Runner’s World.
I remember when I first aspired to this. I was 19 years old, working at a gym on campus at UW-Madison. I was thumbing through the pages, and daydreaming about running. I gravitated to the stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And that’s when I read an article about Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run (GOTR).
At that point there were just a few chapters of GOTR in existence, but Molly had plans for a lot more. I was very inspired by the article, and quietly hoped that I would one day do something notable enough to be featured in Runner’s World.
21 years later, it happened.
So what did I do? Did I celebrate? Pop a bottle of wine and toast the running Gods? Did I dance in my living room? Nope. None of the above.
I went for a run. Alone. In the dark.
It felt so surreal to me that there I was as the lead story on their website, for just being brave enough to do what I wanted to do, and stepping up to share the story.
As I ran over the paths in the golf course the sky turned from deep pinks and purples to rich, dark blues. The half moon glowed in the center of the sky, the outline of the foothills stood in front of me, and billowy clouds that were slowly turning grey drifted behind me. The dry leaves on the trees rustled in the breeze, and I quietly asked myself, ‘who am I?’ I kept shaking my head in disbelief.
I asked this question because in the last 5 months my life has drastically changed. I moved across the country to Colorado after living in the same county in Southern Wisconsin for 29 years, I created an entirely new friend group, I faced and conquered my fear of public speaking, I started a non-profit… you get the idea.
This year I had the courage to really make shit happen, and seeing my face on the Runner’s World website today stopped me in my tracks. It was proof looking back at me that I’ve made a lot of courageous choices leading up to this.
Again I asked myself again, with the stars twinkling above me, ‘who am I?’ And that’s when I literally stopped mid-stride I paused my watch, looked at the details of the Colorado landscape around me and laughed, I had the answer. I am who I always was always meant to be, but was too scared to become.
I finally have found the courage in the last few months (well, last couple years if I’m being honest) to make it a priority to do what feels right, even if it’s an unpopular choice.
Lots of people gave me shit for wanting to donate my kidney. Quite a few people thought racing a 50 miler post donation was too risky. Some people were rude and jealous about my moving to Colorado.
Fuck. All. That.
I started down the journey of learning to truly identify what was important to me in my life through reading Martha Beck’s book Finding Your Own North Star. With that as a launch pad I’ve been able to get clarity, trust that I can achieve the life I dreamed of, and really do this thing on purpose.
One thing I had to get through my head was that not everyone will like me. I can do my best to be quiet and perfect and a fast runner and a hard worker and a good manager and there will still be people talking shit.
So let them.
I stood there in the dark on the golf course on this crisp Colorado night and laughed. I laughed at finally recognizing that I’m doing it. I’m making my dreams a reality. I’m reaping the rewards of all the habits I consciously cultivated. I’m being cosmically rewarded (not to sound all woo woo about it…) for having the audacity to get clear on who I am, what I want, and what I enjoy doing, and I’m DOING it. Every damn day I’m doing it. (And I’m of better service to those around me because I’m doing it.)
Prioritizing what’s most important.
Asking powerful questions.
Consciously choosing my social landscape.
Dreaming bigger than I thought possible.
I have post-it notes all over my apartment. I’ll write down quotes, ideas, goals, dreams, whatever resonates and will keep me moving forward.
I was listening to the Avett Brothers the other day as I was getting ready for a Toastmasters meeting when a line grabbed my attention. I played it back a couple times to soak it up. The song is called ‘Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise’. The line was ‘Decide what to be and go be it.’
My boyfriend sometimes jokes that I’m obsessed with death. And in a way I am. I think a LOT about the fact that we will all die. In 100 years most of us won’t even be talked about anymore. It’s inevitable, and we can’t predict when it will happen. So why not really go for it? Our naysayers will be 6 feet under too, so why let those opinions count?
Decide what to be and go be it.