Friday, 27 April 2012

Good luck, A!

My smart, funny, and all-around awesome sister-in-law is doing something amazing tomorrow—running her very first half marathon. Naturally, I’m ridiculously excited and proud of her. I’ve been following her progress and find her story to be an inspiration. She’s overcome more hurdles than the average person attempting this goal, and her health has improved phenomenally.

Last week, she made a point that has stayed on my mind: even though she’s done all of the work and could get up and run the distance right now, she’s freaking out about this race. Why?

She’s freaking out because it matters. If this goal wasn’t important to her, she wouldn’t be in a panic right now.  It would just be another run on her calendar. To put it plainly, this run means something to her. It represents the culmination of all of her time, effort, and training. She’s put in a lot of hard work. She’s stuck it out through knee pain, days when work and family left her short on time, and days when she just didn’t want to go. For each run, she took that vital first step that most of us find so easy to ignore. She showed up, over and over again.

Fear is technically considered a negative emotion, but negative emotions demonstrate what matters to us. Negative emotions are uncomfortable. As much as we try to avoid them (anger, fear, jealousy, etc.) these are the emotions that we need to listen to the most.

When we worry about our family members being out later than we anticipated, it shows that we care about their safety. When we get angry because our friend let us down, it shows that our relationship with them is important. When we’re jealous of someone else’s success at work, we can finally see where we want to succeed. No one wants to feel panicked, angry, or jealous, but it’s precisely in these uncomfortable situations that we understand what we truly want, and we learn where to focus our efforts.

I won’t try to tell A to stop freaking out about tomorrow. It wouldn’t do any good, and besides, she has every right to freak out! I know that she will be amazing, and in less than 24 hours she will be celebrating one of her proudest moments. The half marathon is definitely worth celebrating, but the hundreds of miles she put in to get to this point are worth even more.
I doubt she’ll get any sleep tonight, but as she lies awake with excitement and nervousness, I hope she can see that this one, restless night represents a year of hard work. Every panicked thought says that tomorrow is important and something worth celebrating. Just as she is important and worth celebrating to us. Good luck, A!! We’ll be here cheering you on!

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