Thursday, September 7, 2017

Look What You Made Me Do . . .

Look what you made me do.

No, not you Taylor. 


Lisa, look what you made me do.  

Because you did this.

You ran a 10k. Like, 6 miles in a row. At Disneyland.

Let me let you and my other friends out there in on a little secret: I do not love exercise.

My stasis is resting peacefully on a couch with my fingers on a book or keyboard. Not breathing heavy, sweating, hurting, running, pulling ropes, crunching, grunting, jumping, and all other unnatural things.

Over the years I've exercised here and there. I've joined and quit every gym in the area (there are only four.) I've bought and given away two treadmills and currently have a dusty exercise bike in my bedroom. I've even ran a couple 5Ks.

I haven't hated exercise. In fact, twice - yes, literally two times - in my life that I woke up early was excited to the gym. It. Was. So. Weird. 

But here's a secret: I'm turning 46 in one week. That means I'll be closer to 90 than to birth. I realize that I'm officially at the age where I have to stop accepting aging gracefully and fight it. 

And how do I fight it? 

Three ways.

1. Maintain a positive attitude. Easy check.

2. Eat healthier.   Replacing Froot Loops with Eggs. Check.

3. Regular exercise.  Uummmmmmm. 

So, here I am, knocking on the door of ninety, and I see Lisa's happy and healthy mug on Facebook. 

She'd just run in her first 10k race. AND she didn't die.

In fact, she looked happy. Really happy.

And I wanted to feel happy too. No, I wanted to feel the joy of accomplishment that I could see on her face.

So, I went joined yet another gym. (I'd quit my old gym in June because who works out during summer with a wedding and a first-floor renovation? Not this girl.) And after I joined the gym, I actually got on the treadmill and ran. Then walked. Then ran again.

I'll admit. It was hard work for me.

But I did it. And I felt joyful. 

On the way home I got to thinking.

Lisa never once called me up and challenged me to a race. She didn't flaunt her training on Facebook. She wasn't my accountability partner. She didn't directly encourage me to run.  

But what she did to was run herself.

It was her example that moved me to action. I saw the joy and the triumph and I wanted that for myself.

I think it's easy to forget the power of example and influence. We see the things we want for those close to us--happiness, health, success, etc--and we do what we can to help them get those things. We encourage, we plan, we push, and sometimes we straight-up tell them what to do.

And sometimes in our fervent efforts to get others to do what we think would make them happier or better, we actually discourage them or even push them away. Then we are left frustrated, wondering why people won't listen to us.

But people don't want to be ordered. They want to be moved. And sometimes the best way to move someone is simply by allowing them to see what moves us.

That's the power of example and influence.

I came home and told my daughter about it, about how I felt. And guess what. She came to the gym with me for the first time. AND, she ran on the treadmill right next to me. Not because I told her to, but because she wanted to.

That's the power of example and influence. It moves people to action, not forces them. It makes them willing participants in their own growth.

Now, ten years ago I could have jogged four miles without hardly breaking a sweat. My first workout was nothing close to that. But I don't feel bad. I won't let myself take away from my victorious return to the treadmill becasue I left for a while. I am the prodigal jogger, and becasue of the example of a good friend, I have returned.

It'll be a tough road back. I didn't like running today, nor do I ever suspect I'll wake up and think, "Oh my gosh, I lerv this so much. I think I'll run for four hours." BUT, I love that her influence has touched me and ignited the desire to make a goal and achieve it, to do something hard even if I don't love it, because I know she didn't love running.  But she fought, and she won. And found joy in the journey and at the finish line.

And I hope she finds joy in knowing that her example and influence have opened the door for me to find my own.

Disneyland 10k. January 13th, 2018, I've got my eye on you.

Thanks Lisa.

No, really. Thank you. :)

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