Happy Mother's Day, lovelies. Here are some quick thoughts from me on running, not drinking, the daily slog of mothering, and giving up what you want so you can get what you need.
I've been running for 20 years now and I still don't really consider myself a runner. It's something that I've done—with some breaks here and there—consistently, since I was a teenager, and sports ended, and I still had the deep need and programming to move my body and sweat.
I don't NOT call myself a runner because I'm being coy or cute or modest. It's just, I don't know—it just feels like something I do now. Sometimes when I run it's glorious and I feel more in my power and body than I do anywhere else, but more often than not, it's just a thing I do because I seems to make me a better person to be around. I don't over think it, I don't beat myself when my legs feel like cement, and although I totally celebrate having a good one, I don't take those too seriously, either, because it's just one of thousands of other days I put my feet on the ground. (My friend Holly asked me how long it took to run 8 miles yesterday and I truly had no idea. Over an hour?) This is the benefit of the longer road traveled, I suppose: after 20 years, I've touched the whole spectrum (injuries, marathons, wonderful 10 milers and treacherous 2's, every kind of weather) and so nothing is that big of a deal.
It has occurred to me that the thing I love most about running is HAVING RUN. It's also the thing I love most about writing, and telling the truth, and cleaning my bathrooms, and mothering. I always like the effect of HAVING done those things, but sometimes doing them totally blows. Often times the things that bring us lasting happiness are not pleasurable at all.
And nowhere is this more true for me than in sobriety. Especially in the beginning. Not drinking was not something I enjoyed, at all. I hated missing out; I still adored the taste and color and smell and ritual of wine dearly when I put it down; I liked the raucousness and possibility of drinking; I liked the connection I perceived it gave me to others; I liked the way it softened all the edges in the evenings when I came home for my second shift (mothering). Those things all still existed when I stopped (even if the window of positive effect had become very, very small). And still today, sometimes, I don't like NOT drinking in certain places, situations, weathers. But I always, always like the effect of having NOT DRANK. ALWAYS. Never, not once, have I thought to myself, "I really wish I would've drank last night," when I didn't.
I like the effect of having NOT DRANK. I like the effect of HAVING MOTHERED. I like the effect of HAVING RUN.
Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there: past, future and present. You are loved and so very needed.