When I get sick, I watch even less TV than I do when I feel well. I’m generally not much of a TV person. I prefer to listen to music, play piano, create something, take a walk. These activities vary of course depending on the ailments that arise, but you get the idea. Today I have somewhat of a severe cold. When I say “severe” I simply mean the kind that affects your decision-making abilities, causes you to feel faint after five minutes of standing and compels you to breathe through your mouth.

As a result of my desire to simply stare at the wall today I began to ask myself the question, “What of the physical items that I have purchased over the years has brought me the greatest return?” This is not a deep or spiritual question but more of a surface yet honest type of question. I realize I could have said my Bible, my phone, my laptop…but I purposely set that sort of thing off limits. Within seconds I decided on my answer: my New Balance v1500 running shoes. I no longer have the originals, but 3 versions, 4 colors and approximately 7 pairs later the shoes as an entity are still my favorite. 

Why a pair of shoes? Not just any shoes, the NB v1500s have trained me in running, appreciation of beauty and resilience in life.

These shoes felt like they were made for me. The first afternoon I took them home, I ran with no pain. Lightweight and sturdy with amazing arch support, I felt lighter than air. These shoes have taken me through forests of Canada, streets of Las Colinas and my first half marathon. I have run through grass, mud, and the rocky terrain of a handful of breakups. I have run to dubstep, jazz, silence and indie tunes. I have run in the cold, the Texas heat, the wind and the rain. I have run while crying, praying, limping and while strong. I’ve had crappy runs on beautiful days and PR-breaking runs on cold, early mornings. These shoes have been with me through it all. The way I see it, these shoes have had the greatest return of any other material item that I own. They have taught me to suck it up, show up, get back up, get stronger, get faster, ban the excuses and do it again. It’s why I always go back to them. 

Running forces you to think. I listen to my playlists, but I always end up thinking. After about mile 3, I become the person I am after a nice glass of tempranillo. These two facets are the same person, walls let down, relaxed yet intense. As I become the philosopher deep in thought, I digress from appreciating the movement of the trees and the weight-bearing capabilities of the knee joint to savoring the effects of running on my life. 

The arts of discipline and of self-deprivation are not looked upon fondly today. We are all about indulgent self-absorption. We laugh at our laziness via memes on sleeping too much while spending hours “catching up with our friends” through our thumbs. We look forward to weekends and online grocery shopping while we pay someone to mow our lawns and clean our house. We take a front row parking spot at the gym so we can pay to climb fake stairs. We then go home to our frozen pizza and Netflix, complaining of that lower belly pooch. 

Let it not be so. Let us “put on our favorite pair of running shoes” and get after it in this world. We are not guaranteed tomorrow or even today for that matter. Get back to that hobby that you love, that project you keep putting down, that business you want to start. Yes, life sometimes gets difficult. It gets more difficult when you quit, so don’t do that. We cannot be afraid of obstacles. We should be more afraid of wasting time. See you out there, folks.

The Future of Connection for Women

 

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Jill Unterbug
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