You may be asking yourself what my journey of finding one hundred dollars has to do with your own journey to becoming the healthy individual you are meant to be. But I do believe there are lessons to be learned in any situation we find ourselves in and this is my story.
As with any journey we embark on, it always has a starting point. Sometimes it is a journey that we plan for and sometimes it is one that just happens to us spontaneously. But regardless as to how your own journey began, whether you embarked on it for health reasons or just plain tiredness of being overweight and unfit, no one is guaranteed a ride without obstacles.
First, I would like to give you a little background on my journey to $100. It all began on a hot August summer morning back in 2007. I had gone out for a run with my running coach and fellow runners when I saw a tarnished penny in the road. Never being one to walk, or for that matter, run away from any coins, I quickly backtracked to where the small penny was, picked it up and put it in my pocket. Everyone, including my coach laughed at me as I raced to catch up with them. But in my defense, I told them I was going to go home, put that penny in a jar and see how long it would take me to reach $100. I was going to show them that every coin no matter how big or how small matters . From that point on every coin that I found on my life's journey found its rightful place right alongside my very first coin.
It took quite a while for my jar of coins to show some substance, but over time I slowly filled up one jar before I had to move up to the next size just three short years later. Each coin had a purpose, just like each one of us has a purpose in life. Each coin, each bill that I found has value, jus like each of us has value. Each of us has a purpose. It does not matter your size or weight you are today or in the future, just know that you matter--you have value.
On Sunday, February 19th I was about a third of the way into my 10 mile run, when I reached a pinnacle in my journey that started over 4 1/2 years earlier. I knew that I was getting close even before I took my first step that day, but I never went out for a run expecting that today would be the day. I would accept whatever came my way. This day was unlike many of my other running days. I generally do not run on Sundays, but because of the rain the day before I had to run my long run that day. Ironically of all days, I chose to run down a road that I have never gone down before. I am not too sure why I chose that route, except that I was looking for a change of scenery. It felt right. Just as I was heading out of the cul-de-sac I glanced about 10 feet in front of me, and there I spotted three pennies waiting to be picked up. These three pennies, along with the four I had found in the earlier part of my run allowed me to reach that $100 mark.
So what does this all mean for you?
This story is more than just a runner finding money. It is about the resiliency to go out each and every day vowing to do my best and to accept those things I cannot change. The goal was not just about finding another coin, but more importantly learning to trust the process. I could have easily stopped my run right that minute, but this run was not about finding money, it was preparing me to run the New York City Half-Marathon in 4 weeks. Finding money was just a consequence to my preparation. Irony being what it is, I did not stop, turn around and go home, but I continued on my run for the next 6 1/2 miles, only to come home with not 7 pennies, but 10 pennies in all, pushing me well beyond the number I needed to reach the one hundred dollar mark.
The lessons I have learned on this journey are many. There are those things I can control. I can control the distance, the speed and the intensity of my runs. I can control the time of day I run. I can even control the route I run. However, the one thing I cannot control is the amount of money I may or may not find on my runs. I have to have faith that by doing the things I need to do, I will eventually reach my goal regardless of the time involved.
Same is true for weight loss and embracing healthy habits. There are so many thing we can control, but there are so many things we can't. But when we go out and do the things we know we must do, we must trust that the changes are going to happen--maybe not in the time frame we expect, but when it is meant to be.
In my 4 1/2 year journey there were many days I came back empty handed, but I did not allow that to deter me from going out the next day to try yet again. Same is true for those who become frustrated with the slowness of their weight loss. Every pound, heck even every ounce counts. Just because you don't lose one week does not mean all your hard work up to this date was for naught. There is a sense of satisfaction overcoming obstacles. You just have to keep your eye on the big picture and that big picture is not weight loss, but living the life you were meant to live--a healthy life.
I could have easily gone to the bank and withdrawn the hundred dollars or even have my husband drop coins along my running route for me to find. Trust me, that would have been the easy way out, after all isn't that what a lot of us want on this journey--the easy way out.
As a dear friend recently told me living a healthy lifestyle takes hard work and effort. It's not something that we are given, it is something we earn. We must set out every day to fight our way to live a healthy lifestyle. It truly is a life-sentence and one we must work to achieve every day.
While some may find stooping down to pick up a penny to be a waste of time or effort, I can't begin to tell you the thrill I experience when I scan the road ahead and see a small battered cooper coin along the curb waiting to be swooped up and placed in my pocket. It took me 4 years, 5 months, 3 weeks and 5 days, but more importantly over 4500 miles, yes, you read that right--over four thousand five hundred miles, to reach this pinnacle. If you take the average of pennies per mile that is roughly 2 cents per mile. But look how much more I gained. I have my health and I have the ability to run. And I am proud to say the tradition will continue. I am not quite done, I have so much more living to live.
Do you focus too much on the big changes or have you learned to accept the small ones that will eventually lead you to your goals? What lessons have you learned on your own journey that you believe will help others?
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