“Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.”
I sometimes forget people are watching. I sometimes get so wrapped up in myself that I forget there are other people in the world. Not only do I forget that I’m being watched, but I forget that people in my life are watching me critically, with eyes open wide to take it all in. The things I do on an everyday basis are being scooped up by the people, both big and small, and I’m making lasting impressions.
This morning I came downstairs in my ratty running clothes. The beauty of being on maternity leave is that I don’t ever really have to look nice, especially if I’m not going anywhere during the day. But after I got the kids some breakfast and settled with a short (educational, I promise!) show I walked over the the bookshelf and grabbed my headphones.
“Oh! Are you going for your run, mom?”
It hit me, just from that one little sentence, how many things in our life just get NOTICED. Just from that sentence I learned that my 4 year old notices my running and he realizes that it’s a habit (grabbing headphones = running). In his own way I think he also realizes how important it is to me (your run).
I was thinking about this as I left the house and started on my way. A few houses down I saw a neighbor walking his dog. He’s the kind of neighbor that we’ve said say hi in passing, but we’ve never really spoken. As I passed him he says. “I was wondering when you were going to get back to running! I had noticed you stopped and didn’t know why until I saw you out with the baby the other day. It’s great that you’re getting back to it. I used to enjoy watching you pass. You were doing a great job.”
While my son noticed every time I was headed out for a run, other people who I had no real connection to were also noticing when I wasn’t running. Impressions are made in the big moments, but also in the small moments too. It can be in the grabbing of head phones, the handing handing of a book, a quick hello or nod as you pass by.
And with these little moments I begin to realize that maybe others are noticing me too. As much as I look to others for inspiration, I hope that I am inspiring others as well. I hope that my son who sees how much my runs mean to me finds something in his life that gives him that much joy and pleasure. I know I don’t look like a “typical” runner, but I hope that inspires those that are too scared to run because of fear of judgement. I hope that I can show others that if I can do it, they can do it.
It’s not necessarily about running, but really just getting out there and doing that thing you’re scared to do. Fear of doing something is usually manifested simply by fear of judgment from others. I was always scared that people would judge me as a runner simply because I was slow or didn’t look the part. But If I never would have gotten out there, I wouldn’t be where I am now…completely in love with this “thing”. It’s made me push myself and challenge myself in ways I never thought I could.
I hope that people look at me and my journey and realize there’s nothing to fear except fear. That sometimes you have to jump. That if you’re willing to take the leap of faith when everything tells you you shouldn’t you might just find something amazing. You might just find yourself.