Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Beginning

It's New Year's Eve and the air is abuzz with resolutions, toasts to the 2013 that was, and cheers to the 2014 that will be.  Everyone vows to change for the better somehow, being fitter, friendlier, and more frugal.  People swear they'll live in the moment and love those around them.  And while all of these vows are good and fine, people forget that the only thing which will be happening at midnight is a change on the calendar.  You aren't suddenly going to get the motivation to go to the gym every day or the money to travel around the world.  Life is not suddenly going to get better or easier tonight at midnight.
Resolutions themselves are not bad things.  They remind us to focus on the things that are important, and that is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself.  The problem arises when we forget that goals and resolutions require a little work every day, not just a promise on the first day of a new year.  So, if it makes you happy, make resolutions.  Make them attainable and measurable THEN WORK TOWARD THEM.  All year, not just for a week or so.

This time of year, we also hear a lot of things along the lines of "2013 was great, but 2014 will be the best year yet!".  Maybe.  But here's the thing: if you're living your life to the fullest, every year will be the best year yet.  Each year will bring new highs, making you happier than you ever thought to be possible.  You will travel to new places, meet new people, make new friends.  You will try new things, find new obsessions.  You'll probably find a new favorite song, favorite movie, favorite book in the upcoming year.  The new year will bring new victories and joys and excitements.  You'll finish the year and think "wow, that was fun."
On the flip side, every year brings new lows.  You'll probably cry in the next year.  You'll be mad and confused and upset and lost to new degrees.  But these experiences are so important to the year.  These are the things that will make you stronger and will hopefully make you a better person.  When you look back on the year, you'll remember the pain, but hopefully the joy will match it, if not eclipse it.

So, Happy New Year, everybody.  I hope it's a great one.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Okay, to be clear, I don't intend to be so bad about neglecting my blog.  It just kind of happens.  But I have some great article ideas and I'm not sure where to start, so expect like four new articles in the space of four days.  Yes, I am crazy.  Let it go.  We'll all be happier.

Anyway.  I am, among many other things, a runner.  I started running sporadically at fourteen when I decided that I wanted to run a marathon before turning sixteen.  That didn't happen, but I did fall in love.

Nowadays, I run around three days a week, and I've logged miles with dogs, kids, my dad, my boyfriend, my suitemates, friends, and solo.  Every mile may not be fast or fun, but the feeling I get from running cannot be matched.

I used to always run with either music or a buddy, and sometimes both, but in the last year or so I've ditched the music for a few reasons.  There is, of course, the safety aspect: I often run at night or early in the morning, and as a girl it's safer to be able to hear everything around me.  However, there is also an emotional, almost spiritual reason.  Running in silence allows me to hear everything from my footfalls, to my breathing, to the world around me, and in many ways it allows me to hear my thoughts with more clarity.  Running has become therapeutic for me.  I'd expected that running in silence would provide me with more time to dwell on worries, overthinking my life unnecessarily, but instead it calms me like nothing else.  My problems melt away, seeming much less important then before.  I am able to evaluate them with a renewed strength of mind, and I finish my run feeling refreshed.

On a more abstract note, I used to look at running as if I was fleeing my problems and my life.  To me, running felt like flying, and as an overemotional teenager I fell in love with the idea of flying away from everything.  As I ran, I told myself that if I put in enough miles at a fast enough pace, my troubles would not be able to catch me.  I now have a more positive outlook, viewing my miles as progress towards a goal.  Sometimes that goal is simply to be healthier, fitter, and feeling sore the next morning.  Other times the goal is a certain number of miles or a certain speed, or a race I'm training for.  However, while all of these are excellent goals (I can't even describe how great it is to run farther than ever before), many of my favorite runs have been the days where I have no goal other than to feel better at the end of my run than I did at the start, or to catch up with the friends who have joined me for the day's run.

For me, running is something special.  It's mine.  I don't do it out of obligation to anyone or anything.  I do it for me.  And that's the most  beautiful reason I can imagine.