06 Oct Becoming a Runner
Several days ago, I received news that left me discouraged and sad. I had been working towards an opportunity I was super excited about. I had had three interviews and they each had gone so well, it never occurred to me I wouldn’t get the job. But that’s what happened. I didn’t get the job. I was completely shocked. There had already been discussions of pay, positions, and more – it seemed like a done deal. Then, at the last minute, with no clear explanation, everything changed and the door shut.
I tear up at stories of heroism and injustice, I well up at stories (or commercials) of joy and hope, but I rarely sob. When I got the news I wasn’t getting the opportunity, I sobbed. My tears surprised me, but they showed how much I had been anticipating and looking forward to a new opportunity. A chance to grow and learn and flourish. I’m not a stranger to things not working out. I’ve faced my fair share of disappointments, so I embraced my grief and sadness to be able to process and move on.
In those initial moments of disappointment, I didn’t know how to move on. I didn’t have a back up plan of a plan B. This was my plan, well, this had been my plan until it wasn’t. I always have a back up plan, and not be prepared for this possibility…left me feeling bewildered.
As the day went on, I wrestled with feeling insecure and a lack of confidence. It’s rare that I feel a dash to my self-esteem, but I felt it this time and it hurt. But, I also felt a strange, strong and unusual urge….to run.
Inspired by several friends who ALWAYS post their running pictures and statuses on social media (I’m looking at you, Anita, Jessica and Lane), I had started running several weeks earlier. I like running. I’m not good or fast, but I like it.
That day, in the middle of crying and feeling inadequate, my urge to run only grew stronger. I didn’t get to do it that day. But the next day, even after my tears had dried and my disappointment had diminished, I still wanted to run.
So I did. I ran four miles in less than a hour. I had never gone that many miles in one run. Ever. My confidence needed a boost. After receiving such disappointing news, I needed to prove to myself what I could do and how I could go beyond my abilities and achieve success. It wasn’t a messy run, it was steady and I enjoyed it (this entire sentence surprises me!). I needed that run. It cleared my head. The more I ran, the more the fog of disappointment lifted. The longer I ran, the more empowered I felt.
In Dear Mr. Knightley by Katharine Reay, the main character, Samantha Moore, mentions repeatedly how she uses running to keep her grounded. How she runs until she sorts things out. Even if that meant running until absolute exhaustion. Sam had more than faced her lot of disappointments in life, so if anyone knew about finding a coping mechanism to sort out things, it was Sam Moore. When I first read Sam’s comment about why she runs, I didn’t understand it. Why do that to yourself? I remember thinking as I read. However, after the last few days, this fictional character helped me untangle the confusion I was experiencing and instead accept clarity. The crushing low of disappointment along with the high of feeling accomplished from my run, I found that I understood Sam better. When her life felt out of control and overwhelming, she did the one thing she could – she ran. Not to run away, but to sort out life. When I had read Dear Mr. Knightley several weeks ago, I LOVED it (I still do), but now I have a great appreciation of the book and the main character.
I wish I could say I’ve figure out what’s next and thatI know what to do next. I have no idea. One door shut and now I’m trying to figure out what to do. But I do know one thing: I’ll keep running.
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