Reviewing the challenge

WHEELING ISLAND, W.Va. — I was just handed what I thought was another part of an already lengthy to-do list.
I took a deep breath, sat down in the fume-filled kitchen and cried. My DH (dear husband) was dealing with the kids, a pulled muscle and stress fracture. I was kid-free, doing what I loved and alone. Yet, this wasn’t how I wanted to spent my birthday and vacation.
I ended my challenge to 37, 100-plus days of trying to exercise daily both physically and mentally, with mixed results. The last few days of the challenge, I slaved over linoleum tile and refinished 80-year-old hardwood floors. This wasn’t how I wanted to end the challenge, I was suppose to be running over the suspension bridge, maybe going into Ohio for a two-state run. I felt like I failed.
Then I got one more jobs to do, or so I thought. I looked again at my text messages. It read “If you can, clean the upstairs as much as possible.”
The if eased my mind. I regrouped and finished the kitchen floor. I made the downstairs suitable for my family to live in. The upstairs could wait. I had a beach to explore with the kids.
The weight wise, the challenge was a bust. I weigh about as much as when I started. Until allergy season started, I felt better physically — stronger, faster, firmer, etc. I feel the best I have since high school.
The biggest positive of the challenge has been the mental aspect.
I recently read “Running for Women,” by Kara Goucher. In it, the world-class athlete remarks on how she doesn’t think of herself as a runner. She sees herself as a woman who runs. She’s not defined by one aspect of her life.
She suggests that women who are into running find other things that bring them enjoyment. For Kara, it’s cooking, her family, etc.
Reading that sorta clicked for me. If running is your only joy, what kind of life are you living?
For the past month or so, I’ve been mindful of what Goucher wrote and have been trying to make more of an effort to rediscover what makes me happy.
It’s hard to see the happiness when things aren’t going well. I think my problem has been this feeling of helplessness.
Tim Gunn writes in “Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work” about living in a monkey house. When you first go into said house at the zoo, the smell is horrible. But after a while, you get use to it and it seems normal.
For me, certain aspects of life got so over my head, I just didn’t know what to do. I just accepted things as they were, although I knew it could and should be better.
Now, I know more about how I operate as a person and how to get rid of the monkey house.
While I didn’t achieve all of my goals during my challenge, I know I have the power to achieve them.
There were a lot of people out there who helped encourage me during the darker spots during the challenge — especially a special group of winners on Facebook, my family and parents.
Sometimes a random person said something that would make the day a bit brighter.
Now that the challenge is done, my goal is to carry what I learned into the next year and beyond. It’s amazing how much you learn about yourself if you slow down a little and live intentionally.

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