Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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Appreciating The Moments
I still look back on 2012 as a bad year.
And that sucks, because I know the year wasn’t all bad. As I’ve reminded myself (and the world), 2012 may have been plagued (kind of literally) by illness and injury and other frustrating setbacks, but it was also the year that brought me the job of my dreams, a new apartment with a fun roommate, a somewhat shocking marathon PR and a new best friend.
I went through the year feeling, for the most part, depressed. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. Days I just didn’t think I could do it, whatever “it” was that day. I took a beating physically and emotionally.
I think that’s because I was constantly looking at the big picture.
I was always thinking about how I was injured, so I was missing out on my training runs.
I let myself get bogged down by every Crohn’s symptom and I was overwhelmed by days out of the office (and in the bathroom).
I had big goals and I was always thinking about them. In many cases, I was watching those goals fall by the wayside or drift away entirely (Eugene Marathon, we’ll meet someday, I know it). Most days, I felt like a failure. A sick, unhappy little failure.
Woe was Ali.
We may only be a few weeks in 2013, but I can already say with tons of confidence that this year is kicking 2012’s ass. Hard.
There are still, what, 49 weeks left in the year? So a lot can change between now and December 31.
But regardless of what gets thrown my way, I know this year will be better than the last because my mental stability is more solid than it was in the past.
My overall mindset is optimistic, positive and determined to see the good things more than the bad.
An example of my overwhelming optimism: If I sleep through my morning run, don’t have time to brush my hair, rush to the office in the rain, get stuck on the subway and then realize I’m dangerously close to missing a deadline at work, I won’t freak out. I won’t look at all those terrible things and resolve to a day of distress. I’ll force myself to think, “Well, that all sucked, but the rain was a great excuse to wear jeans, blow-drying my hair would’ve been a waste anyway, and my body probably needed the break from running. Plus, my umbrella is cute.”
It’s not just the view on life I’m trying to improve.
This year, I want to take better account of the little moments in life that are so important. They get brushed aside because they’re not, say, 26.2 miles long.
But the little things are crucial. The little things are kind of magical. And the little things add up.
Nothing huge happened in my life this weekend. There were no running breakthroughs, no major accomplishments conquered, no big changes made.
This weekend was filled with the little moments, though.
There was quality TV watching time on Friday night with Brian.
Date a cyclist and you’ll have plenty of opinions about Lance Armstrong. You’ll read all the books. You’ll know about all the riders. You’ll feel cool when someone challenges, “Name a cyclist other than Lance Armstrong” and you can rattle off a dozen. OK, you can rattle off like nine.
There was sleeping in on Saturday. No rush to get out of bed, nowhere to be, nothing to do.
There was a morning Skype session with my favorite fast-crawling dude.
There was a slow, Jersey Boys soundtrack-fueled run in the Saturday sunshine with unexpected good company.
There was an entire day spent on the couch watching TV and napping periodically. In a bunny onesie.
There was a second Skype session, this time with the whole Feller family.
There was a dinner date at one of my favorite NYC restaurants. There was mac and cheese I couldn’t not order.
There was a Sunday morning spin class with friends, a leisurely trip to the grocery store…
…and an unofficial Bejeweled Blitz tournament between Brian and me.
There was a shoe shopping trip.
There was a long-overdue massage.
And, at the end of the weekend, there was a home-cooked meal (yup, by me)…
…clean sheets (courtesy of Bedmaker Brian)…
…and fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.
Despite what Naive Ali always believed, “from scratch” doesn’t mean “add water to the bagged mixture and stir.” Evidently, from scratch means you use ingredients like brown sugar and flour and eggs.
At the end of the weekend, I felt refreshed, relaxed, happy and full.
It probably won’t be a perfect year. Heck, it probably won’t even be a smooth-sailing week.
I’ll probably face some challenges, some setbacks and some straight-up crap.
But I promise to remember — and to appreciate — the little things along the way.
Because even on the worst day, even under the worst circumstances, you can always whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. And then at least one of out those 365 days is guaranteed to be a sweet one.
SHARE YOUR LITTLE MOMENTS: Take a minute to think back on the weekend. Forget about the long run you did, forget about the big race you ran (congratulations, though!) and forget about whatever was on your To-Do list that you didn’t get to. Tell me about the little things that made your Saturday and Sunday special.