And We Danced…

This was the title of the song that was playing as I left my house late this frigid afternoon, trying to get a run in before the sun went down. Starting out, I was pretty excited because I had just discovered that my new running jacket had a pocket to fit my iPhone perfectly- gone were the days of carrying it as I ran. I envisioned audio bliss, with great music taking my mind off the cold and wind.

Imagine my surprise when approximately three minutes and seven seconds into my run, “And We Danced” came on again. I must have clicked on the “repeat” button in my haste to get outside. Now, I liked this song in the 80’s, and I liked it as I began my run, but I definitely was not up for listening to it for 30 minutes straight. No problem, I thought, I’d just advance the song using the remote changer on my headphones. Note to Apple: this is an impossible feat when wearing bulky mittens. I thought about my options- I could stop altogether and dig my phone out of the new pocket, or I could take my mittens off and see if I could use the headphone control. Neither option really appealed to me because it seemed that the temperature and sun were having a contest to see which could go down the fastest. Bottom line, I needed to focus on the business of running home, not on being my own personal DJ.

With that in mind, I at first tried to not think about the fact that I’d be listening to this same song at least 8 more times. This wasn’t the worst thing in the world, I reasoned. Nor was it an impossible situation. I could take my headphones out and have no music, for crying out loud. However, I decided to use this never ending time travel 80’s song as a self-test of sorts. This song in all of its repeating glory, reminded me that there are many things like this in life- things we can’t stand, but we must face day in and day out because they are part of our reality at that given moment. There are many examples of this- jobs, commutes, relationships, or situations that seem hopeless and never ending. I thought back to classes in school (algebra, geometry and basically every math class since kindergarten) that I had endured, thinking they would never, ever end. I thought about jobs I’d held, where I’d dread going in to work because I knew exactly the hours of “drudgery” I’d face. Then I thought of my mom’s advice in those situations- this too shall pass.

Four plays into this song, with maybe two and a half miles left, I reminded myself of just what a blip on the radar this run was. What was my problem, anyway? I was having a good run, my digits were toasty, and the area was well lit. Instead of thinking of how much I now hated all 80’s music, I decided to focus more on the things around me. I took a deep breath of the crisp winter air. I peered in windows, which was now an easy thing to do with the darkness surrounding me. I focused on the fact that it was actually fun to be out here, and how it would make me appreciate my toasty house when I returned.

Then, before I knew it, I was approaching the last half mile of my route. I would survive this audio hell! Minutes later, inside my house I thought about the run and how significantly insignificant it had been. Never was I really in any sort of physical, mental, or emotional danger because of that damn repeating song. Yet at first, with the cold, wind, and darkness overwhelming me, it seemed like this song would be the thing that threw me over the edge.

But the thing was, it wasn’t like I was truly stuck listening to that song- there were many things I could have done to stop it. But I chose to keep on going, knowing deep down inside that in the big scheme of things, it really was a very short and insignificant annoyance. And while many of the things that, like this song, test us to no end and seem like they will never end… we have to remember that they, too will eventually end. We also need to remember that not only do we have the power to get through those things, we also, many times have the power to change them. It’s all about what we’re willing to do and what feels right to us at the time.

So, as you all continuing running through this frigid winter, friends, remember that you always have many roads you can take. You can continue on the path you are on, with faith that you will one day get to a toasty warm house where you have full liberty to listen to whatever you wish… or you can stop right where you are and decide enough’s enough. It’s up to you. It’s your life and you can dance through it any way you like.

by Abbey Algiers
copyright 2012

Running into Another Year

We find time for the things that are important to us. Period.
– Scott Douglas

It’s that time of year again, when many of us are in the thick of New Year’s Resolutions. There are the standard resolutions- clean up our diets, exercise more, give up a vice, spend less time working, more time with family- the list goes on and on. We’ve probably all claimed one of these resolutions at least once- January 1 is a handy day for making life-changing proclamations. It’s the one day of the year where we can safely say, “Hey, I’ve got a clean slate. From this day forward, I’m going to do X.” The extra bonus is that we’ve got lots of company as we admit that areas of our life need improvement… most of the world joins us in our efforts to create better lives, after all.

Personally, one of my New Year’s Eve declarations was to make more time for writing in 2012. I had planned to solidify and advertise this declaration in a brand spanking new Runnerchica on January 1. Wow, not only would I say I was going to write more, but I’d actually write more and do it on the first day of the year! Does it get any better than that?

Well, funny thing is, it’s January 2 (two hours from the 3rd), and here I am just crafting this post. Does this make me a New Year’s LOSER? Does this make any of us who made bold proclamations this year (that were perhaps exactly the same as last year’s) only to see them extinguish quickly… losers also?

To this I’d like to answer with a quick “of course not!” The thing that isn’t advertised on the covers of health magazines whose covers shout things like, “Make 2012 Your Year to Get Fit” is that there really are no New Year’s Resolution Rules. There’s no statute of limitations on the number of times we can make the exact same resolution, or the number of times we can fail by the evening of the first.

The problem of it all lies in the fact that when we are making our clean, new proclamations each year, we often are a bit hard on ourselves. Here we are, announcing how great we will be in this New Year. Then, when we blow off a resolution early in the game, it feels like a failure- our grand proclamation turned into another one of the many things we say each day, a fleeting thought lost on our ever growing to-do lists.

And maybe herein lies the problem. With so much on our plates each day and each year, there does tend to be less time for sticking to the things we value enough to outwardly recognize as areas for improvement. Sure, we think they’re important enough while we’re enjoying a New Year’s Eve toast, and they’re important the next day when most of us are spending quiet time recovering and relaxing after the busy holiday season. But, when life starts again, and we resume our frenetic lives… the good intentions tend to slip and the bad habits seep in again.

What it comes down to, then, is maybe less about focusing on things we are resolving to do this year, and more about focusing on what’s important to us. Is it our health? Our fitness? The people in our lives? Perhaps if we focus on these things enough, we’ll just automatically do the things we know we need to do. Who wants to smoke and eat like a pig when good health is our goal? Is staying on the couch really going to help us run that 5K? If we want to spend more time with our families why are we staying so late at work? I think the point is pretty clear.

In reality, we all know exactly what we need to do in order to reach our goals. Sure, we might falter from time to time. But, the truth is, we do make time for the things that are truly important to us. Period.

Here’s to a New Year filled with everything that’s important to you.

copyright 2012
by abbey algiers