March is one of my favorite months. From basketball season and March Madness to the spring weather that (usually) starts, I love March for a multitude of reasons. We celebrated the official first day of spring last month, and it has rejuvenated my thought process. A lack of sun and freezing temperatures is enough to leave even the most optimistic people downhearted and maybe a little sad. While I do not want to bore you with a story about the weather, I think you might appreciate this insight.
Two weeks ago, I went on a challenging run. The sidewalks were covered in thick sheets of ice and snow. The places without ice and snow were filled with ice water or gravel. I have been running on the treadmill for a couple of months due to the temperatures. Once the temperature was above freezing, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get outside and get some miles done. While running, my socks and what felt like my soul (not to be dramatic), were drenched in ice water. No matter how fast I ran or where I stepped, it felt like I was in the middle of the worst possible situation. When I would step off the sidewalk into the road, I was safe from the terrain. However, the middle of the road is not the most ideal place to run. While on an impressive patch of ice, I started thinking about how “It will get better.” I knew the sidewalk would eventually be clear in a spot. I then began to think about how the path would eventually be entirely clear soon! The more I thought about how much my footing would improve in a couple steps, the more I thought about how this applies to so much more than a risky run on uncertain terrain.
It was a long winter, just like it is a long process to get where we want to be in life. We might feel like we are stuck on a treadmill. Running hard, but not really going anywhere. Sometimes, it might even feel like we are running head-on into a blizzard (not ideal). This is frustrating for a runner, and people in general. Throughout our lives, there will be times where we feel like we are working hard and doing all the right things, but not really seeing much progress. We have good intentions to finish a project, start a new hobby, or even begin exercising more. Even the best of intentions can be met with some awful resistance. Like trying to finish a project for work, you might find yourself at the mercy of an unproductive co-worker or groupmate. It happens. But we need to remember, it gets better. You will not be stuck in the same rut (or same group) forever.
My “one mile at a time” motto has been continually practiced. This winter, I lost sight of the process needed to make it a mile. I started focusing on the steps, rather than the miles. I celebrated the little wins, and that has made all the difference. This idea of “it will get better” has slowly been added to my life motto. “It will get better.” You do not have to run on the treadmill forever. At some point, you get to enjoy whatever situation you are in, no matter how miserable it might seem. While running on this diverse terrain, I had a realization. No matter how difficult that moment was, I knew it was not going to last forever, and it would all be ok. While this run did not break any records, it showed me something that I wanted to share. Things get better. They might get worse before they get better, but they get better. We live in an ever-changing world, and as humans, we strive to get ahead.
The point is, we all have our ups and downs. I went from running a marathon to not being able to run more than two miles on a treadmill without wishing I had picked a better hobby. We all experience triumphs and failures, and it is not about when these events happen, its all about how we respond when they occur. I could have given up my training and started a new fitness craze, like CrossFit. In all honesty, I thought about it. But I didn’t. I think it is part of the challenges life gives us. While the challenge itself is, well, challenging, it’s also the challenge to find a new perspective. Committing to finding new ways to think about a situation can be exhausting. It can also be liberating. You decide.
Even if you are taking it “one mile at a time,” you will encounter tough times. And during the tough miles, even when it seems impossible, remember “it gets better.”
Rise above the storm and you will find the sunshine.Mario Fernandez