Turning The Page
I woke up on New Year’s Day with my family and said goodbye to the only state I have ever lived in—Georgia—and hopped a flight to Kansas City, Mo., to start a completely new year in a new place with a new job (for my husband) in the Midwest.
I am not afraid of new things, new adventures or tackling some crazy goals. In fact, these are the lifeblood for me. I like change. I like uncertainty. I like shiny new things and fun, different places. At least, I thought I did.
After I boarded the plane—just me and the two kids—we waited out the long taxi and runway procedures that are classic Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and, before I knew it, we were up in the air. As I glanced over at the kids (ages 10 and 11), I noticed that they both had tears streaming down their faces. Which of course made me cry, too.
Goodbyes are hard. So is change. In that moment, I was forced to acknowledge that perhaps this whole move would be harder than I thought. Maybe I was sadder than I thought. The kids—though they were completely excited—were still having a rough go of it.
I acknowledged that emotion. And then I tried to simply let it pass. I thought about ways to focus on the good of it all. Look at that amazing new store. I have never lived in cold weather before. I will learn how to run in the cold! Wow—what great ice skating for these little Southern kids!
So much of what we do—in life or in sport and running—is absolutely about how we frame our thoughts. Our perspective really does control our feelings. If we continue to look to the past or look backwards, we will almost always feel sad, lonely and wistful about wherever we have been.
One of my favorite quotes is from Hafiz: “The words you speak become the house you live in.”
I have adopted this attitude in so many ways, particularly in running over the last decade. I came to running late in life; I am not a natural. I am more like a stomper, a lumberer, a tortoise. And that’s okay. But recognizing that I am not a natural and saying negative things to myself while I run is a massive problem. The words you speak become the house you live in.
When things get tough—in life or in running—we must remember that our perspectives have the power to make or break our lives. Truly. If we build a house of despair or negativity with our words, we don’t have a chance to take on new adventures or build a life where things feel strange and new.
Life has its up and downs and grief and despair are part of it. We must go through those processes sometimes. In the same vein, taking a moment to realize that we can change our emotional state with a few words of self-encouragement is one of the most powerful nuggets I have come across.
I am a strong runner.
I have a strong body.
I get to do this run.
I am capable and funny.
I am a badass. End of story.
Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMom)is a recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You. She is the host of the podcast The Same 24 Hours. Meredith recently moved to Overland Park, Kansas with her husband and two children and writes about all things at MeredithAtwood.com. She has a second book due out Fall 2019.