It's February 2011, and the dead of winter in Northeast Ohio. As with most of the population in this part of the country cabin fever begins to creep into our souls. We still have weeks of cold, grey days that will test all of us who choose to live here. For some reason I've been reflecting on my life the past few weeks. Maybe it was my upcoming birthday, maybe it was just time to reevaluate the course of my life or maybe it was just a week of challenges that I faced. In recent years I've become a firm believer in taking inventory of my life and looking back at the road I've been traveling to make sure that the path I've been running is leading me to happiness.
The week leading up to my birthday was a roller coaster physically and emotionally. I had the feeling of being lost, turned around and not knowing what direction to turn. I'm not sure how I got lost, but before I knew it I felt as if I was in the middle of a forest not knowing how to get out, and with no one around to hear me ask for help. So with this overwhelming, uncomfortable feeling filling my heart I did what I always do to sort out my issues. I laced up the shoes put the gloves and hat on and went running.
I believe that I'm a good person. A man that always tries to make the right decisions. Although my approach doesn't always coincide with the main stream I generally believe I'm doing what's right or in better words, believe that the consequences of my decisions will make everyone in my life stronger. The past several weeks have tested the very fiber of who I am. These hurdles needed to be jumped so I could put my mind at ease.
In the past week the old saying "blood is thicker than water" kept crawling through my brain and each time it crept into my mind an anger filled my heart. This anger has made me question who I am as a man, friend and father. During my runs I've had to evaluate each scenario that had played out over the past few weeks to put these challenges behind me. I've realized (something that most people probably all ready know) that even though the outcome of my decisions don't always give me what I want in the immediate future I have to believe and be patient that they will bring happiness into my life later down the road. It's amazing how the solitude of running and the simple cadence of my stride can help put my world into perspective.
Last nights birthday run definitely made me look at my life in a different light. The events in my life over the past several years has changed me. I use to be one of those people just going through the motions of everyday life. This, I believe, is one of the reasons my marriage crumbled. A man just going through the motions of everyday life attempting to squeeze in some "me" time by running or cutting the grass. The divorce made me change my ways. I became a man that is an absolute pleaser. A man that has no balance or ability to distinguish between what's right for me verses just making my friends or family happy.
At the top of a hill 2.5 miles into my run last night I paused as all of these thoughts washed over me. I looked back at the steep hill I just climbed thinking "that hill use to kick my ass" and smiled because it's nothing to me anymore. I turned around picked up my pace and enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. The sun sinking, behind the snow covered hills and bare trees of the sleeping landscape while casting a gorgeous pink sky in the distance. Smiling because in that moment all of the challenges that I've been dealing with felt as if they were behind me just like that old hill that I use to struggle with.
As I continue to be a pillar for those in my life I know that my new challenge is to find that elusive balance I didn't know I was looking for. Somehow I believe that as long as my feet continue to hit the ground in perfect cadence I will find that balance and then maybe, just maybe I'll be able to start a new chapter in my life.Until that is ready to be written I'm just going to smile and continue to enjoy who I am, and who I'm becoming. I'm going to soak up my personal growth because I believe it's going to bring me to happiness.