Commitment: In sickness and in health

Today is August 1st.

Today marks a few things for me. First, is that my sister and I had our 5K today. While this was her first 5k, it was my fourth. We have been training for the past two months in order to prepare for this day. I told my sister to run at her pace and to run her race; essentially I was telling her to not let me slow her down. So, when the race began she got a lead on me and I was surrounded by a crowd of McKinney Texans, who were there to either have fun or to prove something to themselves, or maybe a mix of both (like myself). The first few minutes while running I took the time to notice the people running around me. I saw children as young as 6 or 7 and adults as old as 80. I saw dads pushing strollers with children and groups of young girls who I assumed to be best friends. Each person around me was inspiring. I told myself that it would be these people that I would think about as I hit mile 2 and lost my energy and motivation. And man, did I hit that point in my race! My legs were tired, my shoulder ached, and my lungs just didn’t really wanna cooperate. But I kept going; whether I was walking or running, I kept moving. This was by far the most difficult 5k I have ever ran, but I think that points to my lack of true commitment in training.

Which is what I wanted to really direct my post about today: commitment. I have talked about this before but it really slapped me in the face today. It seems that over the years, especially these last few “adult” years, that I have had a difficult time with the concept of commitment. My largest priority of commitment has been school. It seems that no matter what is going on in my life, nothing can stop me from getting my homework done, studying for my exams, and writing papers or reports. I might put them off a bit, but they always get done. And, I happy to say, that another form of commitment has been in my life the past few years: my relationship with Zane. We have been together for over 3 years now. That is a pretty big deal for me. For a girl who can’t go on a “sugar diet” (where I cut out unnecessary sugar for a few days) for more than a few hours and who can barely keep a regular routine when she is training for a 5k. It is difficult for me to stay committed to many things; at least all at once. If I weren’t in school this summer, I know I would have ran more; I have done it on other occasions. But it seems that when something as time consuming and mentally exhausting as school comes around, I have no motivation or desire to commit to really anything else.

This scares me. While I know I can make other commitments, it scares me that I can’t do them while also being in school. It scares me that I can’t find enough motivation to stop watching Grey’s Anatomy and to get up and run (or study for my GRE…).

This is something I have been struggling with for some time now, and it seems that I will continue to struggle with. Any advice on this topic is warmly welcomed.

To move on, August 1st also marks for me that the summer is about over. I only have 6 more meetings for my summer classes. Then, I will be off to Washington! And even sooner than that, Zane will be leaving on a plane for Denmark! It seems like this summer just began and I was sitting in the parking lot of Collin College in my new car, working up the nerve for my first day of an 8 am class. But now I am almost done with my third class of the summer and I will be moving on.

I have a few instagram accounts that I follow that are of photography from the Pacific North West. I am always seeing beautiful pictures of a waterfall or sunset in some far off mountains or an aerial view of Seattle. It is gorgeous. I would be lying if I said that my heart has no desire to be there. I want nothing more than to be there. I know my life won’t be some big camping trip when I get to Washington, but I have to make the time to live while I am there. I will have a full-time job and be taking a class or two each semester, but I have to remember the overwhelming feeling I have right now to simply walk, sit, and be in nature. To lie underneath a sky full of stars and to watch a sunrise and sunset. To be all the places between the starting point of a hike and the very peak. I want to learn how to be outside and not be afraid of the animals whose homes I am walking by and how to to live without the comforts of a home for just a few days. I don’t need anything extreme, but I do need some time to be without everything that I always feel so tied down to.

So, since this summer is closing, it is a good time to reflect on my summer goals again. I have ran my 5k, which practically made me accomplish my goal of “run more”. While I could have ran more during my training, I am satisfied with what I did accomplish. Plus, I was able to motivate another person to also run and to become more healthy this summer. That is more than enough! I also survived Microbiology!!!! I made an A in the class and am on my way to making an A in Chemistry II! The final goal I had (and most important) was to find balance. While I am still trying to find balance (and probably always will) between my school life and the rest of my life, I feel as though I have done better at this goal. I have been able to cook, spend time with Ashley, spend time with myself, and to work hard! I feel best when I am getting stuff done, and when I can check 5 things off of my list before noon, well I know I am doing pretty darn well! I am happy to have my morning free right now; this is definitely helping me find balance. For now, my focus is on spending enough time on my Chemistry and GRE studying while also relaxing, enjoying the sunshine, and getting up and moving (for now I think I will just walk instead of run for a bit, though).

I know everyone struggles with commitment. If they didn’t, then it would be easier for everyone to eat better, exercise more, stress less, and sleep more. But we are human. We tend to push ourselves past our limits but it is not usually the good limits. How can we turn that around? How can we set goals for ourselves (like to run a half-marathon!) and then do it. To push our physical and mental capacities further than we ever imagined. There are so many inspirational individuals out there who actually do it. Maybe it is they who I need to take my hard pressing questions to…

~Lauren

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