Growing up I definitely wasn’t as active as I think I should have been and as I get older I try to be more active — try to choose the activity that will help me wander outside more often.
But I think perhaps I ran in different ways. I think that my whole teen to adult life, I’ve done nothing but marathons.
I wanted to have a job as soon as I could. I wanted to have a way to make my own money so I wouldn’t have to ask. I started working when I was 13 years old. I was much better with my money then and I would save money for things I wanted (which usually meant going to the Coconuts next door and buying a bunch of CD’s and band paraphernalia) and things I needed (my first car, a laptop for school, etc…).
I had always and have always believed in the value of hard work; both in school and in a job. I would work on weekends and eventually after school as much as I could at the time. I would pile on extra-curricular activities in high school (choir, theater, poetry club, Filipino club).
When I went on to college, it didn’t really change. I double majored and packed my schedule to 18-21 credits (6-7 classes) a semester, sometimes requiring the academic dean to sign off on my course list. I piled on theater society and clubs and internships and even working three jobs in one semester. I would often be exhausted and forget where I parked in the morning or if I had even left campus the night before.
When I stepped out into the “real world”, I thought that working myself to the bone was the best way to make it in my field. I wanted to prove that I worked hard and I would stay late to prove I can go the extra mile to deliver more than what was asked for.
Before I moved to Manhattan at the beginning of this year, I had worked myself from a 13 minute mile on the treadmill to just under 10 minutes. Since I’ve been home, I get winded if I try jogging or walking too fast on the treadmill. I want to go back to running. Not just on the treadmill but in my life.
I realize now, more than ever, how important it can be to slow down sometimes. I was running so fast that even at my sickest — before my diagnosis — I was still working late and working hard.
Maybe that’s part of this lesson.
Learning to work hard without working myself to death. Learning how to be patient with myself and give myself time to breathe.
I don’t have to try to sprint through the whole marathon — I just have to pace myself.
I got sick a couple weeks ago, right after the procedure. A minor sinus infection that knocked me on my ass for about a week and a half. It reminded me that even though I’m feeling okay — I shouldn’t overload myself. I’m still not in the clear yet and, if I had gotten a fever from that infection, it would have been a much more serious problem that would have probably landed me in the hospital again.
I’ve been learning a lot about myself in this past six to twelve months.
I am grateful.