Every day you’ve got running shoes on, it’s a good day. – Sean Astin, actor
The last few months have been filled with their fair share of ups and downs. After nearly 4 1/2 years of marriage and 7 1/2 years together, my husband and I filed for divorce. In March, our divorce was finalized. The last few months have been spent reclaiming my identity and rediscovering the activities I loved and had been missing, while learning how to survive as a single working mom without losing myself again. Most days I feel like a tightrope walker, trying to that responsibility with that desire to enjoy my new-found independence.
I have learned that I can still open my heart to someone and love freely. I have also learned that I can survive the heartache that comes with losing that love. However, that ability to put myself out there has led to amazing opportunities as well. Without even knowing if they were hiring, I submitted my resume to a few of the local YMCAs. Within a few days, I was contacted by one of the local branches and offered an interview. I felt immediately at home when I walked into the door. I was offered a job as a personal trainer before I had even left the interview. Not only did they offer me a personal training job, but I was told that I would have the responsibility of starting up a running program. A program for off-season training for high school athletes was also in the works, and they were looking for someone who could design fitness programs for post-rehab patients that were being treated at the physical therapy clinic adjacent to the Y. I was just hoping to get some part-time hours that would work with my other job’s schedule. Instead, I ended up with the opportunity to build a career doing the things I am most passionate about. It has also given me a new respect for my job at the high school. The knowledge and experience that I have gained over the years is what made this opportunity a reality. I go into both jobs now with a smile on my face and the cognizance of how fortunate I am to be doing what I love.
Through all of this, I have relied heavily on an old friend…. running. Now that the days are warmer, most of my running is done on the trails at the nearby state and regional parks. There is something therapeutic about fighting your way up a steep hill to be rewarded by a breathtaking view of the St. Croix River and the surrounding cliffs and bluffs. Every turn brings about a new challenge. Those worries that seem to always follow you quickly get lost amongst the forests and fields. It’s no longer about how fast or how far, but about finding that inner strength to overcome obstacles and taking time to enjoy the journey. Some paths may be easier than others, but each one offers its own lessons. It’s not just running. It’s life.