So we all know we’re living in an unprecedented time. I feel like a broken record every time I say it, but it’s true. The world has never been so universally impacted by anything before COVID, and we’re all learning how to cope with this new way of life.
From mask mandates to planning for school and the future, nothing is as we expected 6 months ago. I’ve taken this opportunity to try to let go of my expectations and accept that I can not control what happens around me. I’m learning how to simplify.
Anyone who knows me can attest that I can be tightly wound, that I can get lost in my own expectations for myself. But I don’t want to be that way, and I’m slowly learning that it doesn’t do any good to live with those burdens that I alone have put on myself.
About 5 months ago, I was training for my first half marathon and full marathon (both in one season). Obviously, when COVID hit, it slowed down my training schedule. Before shelter-in-place orders went into effect, I would feel guilty if I skipped my run more than twice a week, even if I simply didn’t have time for it. My goal to complete a marathon became an unhealthy obsession. It became me needing to prove to myself and everyone else that I could do it by any means necessary. It was less about achieving an accomplishment and more about doing it just for the sake of being able to say I did it. But I could not see that until I was forced to take pause. I do still love running, but now when I run, jog, or even just take a walk, it’s about the joy of moving my body. It’s not about proving something to anyone.
I’ve put these kinds of expectations on myself my entire life. I’ve always wanted to prove that I was good enough, or if I’m being honest with myself, better than others. I’ve always wanted to be impressive. But it wasn’t ever authentic. That’s what I’m trying to let go of, and the universe gave me the perfect opportunity. In March, when it felt like the world was ending, it was really just the beginning. I’m learning to explore my passions, not for anyone else, not to live up to my own expectations, but rather for myself.
We’ve been given this amazing gift to start over, to live simply, to find what makes us happy, to let go of our burdens. Take advantage of it.
Stay healthy, live authentically.