When completing the sentence "I am a ..............", many of us will be able to fill in a number of things in the blank space.
For example, here are a few of my own:
I am a wife and mother.
I am an entrepeneur.
I am a lover of life.
I am a runner.
Ok, stop right there!! ..... Most of you reading this now will, whether you are aware or not, already have formed some sort of an opinion about me based on my list. However, this list really doesn't tell you much about me at all. Lets look at the last one: "I am a runner".
Well, what does that actually look like? Does this look fit and healthy? Does it look crazy? Does it look boastful?
The funny thing is, this is one of the things that I won't usually tell you about myself....well, not until you have moved from being an aquaintance to being my friend. Why not? I'll tell you why not. When a forty something mother of teenagers tells you they run, it sets them up for judgement. That judgement could be good: "Wow! That inspires me!" and that judgement could be bad : "She's just a show-off" or even "Bitch".
Luckily I've grown comfortable enough with myself to not mind that you have an opinion or which you will choose. The real reason I don't tell you this is because I feel you will want to put me in a box. Then you'll want to change the box. Because from where you are standing, my box needs changing.
What does this box look like?
In a runners world...it doesn't look too good. Mediocre would be the word to use.
To an unfit unhealthy person it may look threatening or too big.
To a want-to-be runner or a beginner runner it will look inspiring.
The truth is that in my own world my box may be just perfect. And I would like to keep it that way.
I am a mid-pace, mid-distance runner. I run a mid- and varied number of times a week. I have a middle number of races under my belt. (12 half marathons and 1 marathon over a 20 year period). And, no, I'm not driven to become a faster paced or longer distanced kinda runner, nor to have many more race boxes per year ticked. I LOVE half marathons. They are not too fast, not too far and training time for these easily fits into my week.....And no! I don't HAVE TO do one every year.
I can skip a few months if I need to which for me means rather sticking to 4 km or 5 km runs. It's perfect. It keeps my emotions balanced and my head clear. My creative thoughts flow when I run. My prayer life improves. I feel fabulous. I feel happiest. I feel my best. So you see, my box fits me uniquely and perfectly.
So why do I keep it a secret. Well, when I tell people I run, people seem to have their opinion (which I'm totally cool with) and then they seem to have their advice.
This was a problem for me for many years, because you see, I felt compelled to at least stop and consider this advice and many times I would even follow this advice.
This would change my box....and it didn't fit so well any more.
Here's a small list of just a few bits of the conflicting advice i've recieved:
"Its time to hang out your shoes because your knees and hips are really going to give in one day"
"Only one full marathon?.....Never another? Are you sure? Of course you'll be back for more!.... come and join me next year"
"Are you sure all that running is good for you? I think you should do power walking instead"
"If only you'll join a club or a time trial you'll be amazed at just how must faster you'll run"
"Well, just make sure you ALWAYS have a great bra, you don't want to end up with your boobs at your waist!" (.....seriously!!!!!)
So, my friend, the challenge is this. Don't feel your box needs to fit anyone elses box! Your identity is unique, and it's perfect for you! You may be thinking, I don't even know what my 'unique' is! Who am I when I'm not trying to fit into other peoples boxes?
My question is also this: how many others do I try to make fit into my kind of box? Maybe I should admire and accept your box because its yours and you are unique, and you can consider accepting mine too?
If this resonates with you, I'd love to hear from you and to connect. I'd love to hear your story. So, send me a message or give me a call. Choose to be happy being uniquely you.