I love to run; not just because it keeps me at a healthy weight, but because it's fun! The feel of those miles, of accomplishing something most people around me don't do, it's amazing. There was a time when running was a huge part of my day. But then I got pregnant. I tried to keep it up, but I was so exhausted those first few months. Compound that with a husband who deployed days before I found out I was pregnant, and things were not so great. I gave up on running after the first couple months, telling myself I'd get back into it after our son was born.
Another baby and six years later, I'd really never gotten back into it. Lack of a babysitter, lack of a car, lack of a husband, lack of a normal schedule; all these things seemed to conspire against me every time I tried to lace up my old running shoes. I did manage to walk fairly regularly, a baby strapped to my chest and another in the stroller. It was something, but I really longed to run. Guilt often appeared, whispering that I could manage if I'd only try a little harder.
Then we moved to the Bahamas and life got much, much slower. All those things that had kept me from running were no longer true. There was no baby to nurse, no missing husband or crazy schedule to dodge. Running was suddenly possible, and I've seized the opportunity. I've worked myself up to running a 5K, and plan on training for a half marathon next.
I've heard people talk about how there are seasons in our lives, times when different things shift to the front and other things have to fall away. Even though it makes sense, I've had trouble accepting it when it comes to me. There are so many things that seem important. Sometimes it feels as if I approach everything with a sense of guilt because of what I'm not doing at the moment. Motherhood seems to have made this much worse.
This whole experience with running has finally drilled it into my head that seasons in life pertains to me, too. Sure, I wish I'd been able to find time to run when my kids were babies and their father was on a submarine that was deploying twice a year, but I was struggling to keep up with what was on my plate at the time. Throwing something more in there would have just stretched me thinner, not made me happier. I focused on other things, things that were more in harmony with our life circumstances and kept our family together. I'm thrilled that I have time to run right now, but no longer feel as if my neglect of it before is something worthy of feeling guilty over.
In sum, I think the most important thing is that we recognize what we can do at a certain point in life and then just do it without worrying about the other stuff that seems important, too. Guilt is paralyzing. There's no point worrying about something that just does not fit into your life. I want to always be able to look back on my life and realize that every step of the way, I was accomplishing something. I may not have been doing everything, but I was always doing something. Somehow, when I think about it like that, it seems enough.
Ana is a restless soul who would love to keep moving around the world the rest of her life. This is probably why she married a submariner in the U.S Navy seven years ago. They have two energetic little boys, and currently live in the Bahamas. She blogs about life in paradise at Sunrise on the Water.
Pic from Flikr.