“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you”
I’ve always enjoyed the above quote, but this past week it truly struck a cord with me.
Last week was hard, no doubt about it. I worked 5 days that had me up at 5am or home at 3am, with only one day off in between. Combining that with training for my run, maintaining my side projects, and dealing with my mental illness (today’s post is not the post where I will go into detail about this, but in sum, I suffer from severe anxiety and depression and have a very difficult time controlling it), it took everything I had to keep going.
It all came into perspective while running my race. It was a miserable early morning and I was still tired from the days prior. I could have just quit and slept longer. But I showed up.
While running, my lungs felt like they were on fire and my body cramped like it never had before. I could have stopped and cut myself slack on the grounds that I had been through a lot the past while. But I kept running, and I finished that 5k in good time.
My point is that I could have let these unfortunate circumstances; the early mornings, late nights, rain, cramps, mental breakdowns, etc. destroy me. I could have let my situation define me, and ran away from it all. I could have quit all I was doing and resorted to lying in my bed. But I didn’t. It was hard, but I held on. And now that I’ve made it to the other side, I can look back and see my strength, what I’m truly capable of. That has allowed me to see that I love running: I just need to keep at it so that I become better and better. I’ve realized that I can work ridiculous hours day after day, and that I should be grateful that I have work and can afford to give myself the things, experiences, and opportunities that I want. I’ve realized that I can make the life I want for myself, because I’m stronger than I was before, and will continue to gain strength by holding on and just keep going through the hard times.
I encourage you to remember my beginning quote when you are going through a difficult time: it has certainly helped me. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing, and look forward to what awaits when you get to the other side. But also, don’t forget to relish in your journey to the other side. It is the journey that will strengthen you, that will teach you lessons you’ll remember forever. Don’t waste your week away looking forward to the weekend, or your month away while looking forward to payday. Take note of when you struggle, and celebrate when you can push through, even by a small amount. Maybe you were able to do one more push-up than you were last week, or maybe you stayed an hour past your shift even though you didn’t want to. Progress is progress, and every step gets you closer to where you want to be. Push through the rocks, and keep growing: you’ll make it and flourish.