A couple weeks ago I ran a 10K. It’s one of my favourite ones because it ends at the beach. Anything that ends at the beach is worth it. Two years ago I ran this race for the first time. It was the first time I had ran a race post my son and in New Zealand. I was crazily nervous, sure I was going to come in last and fearful in general. I actually cried when the race started. Don’t ask. I’m just emotional on my best days, add a new thing, fear and embarrassing myself I’m a hot mess.
Fast forward two years to the race this year, and I feel like an absolutely different person. I was decidedly slower. By a lot. (By “a lot” I mean my husband video’d me crossing the finish line where in my head I was sprinting and I saw this slow person in my running clothes jogging across the finish line. Clearly my body did not get the memo from my brain that we were sprinting) But it was way more fun. I will remind you I live in a university city and within that university city there are females that attend said university. These females run. All. The. Time. And they look so cute and healthy and in shape, so naturally I think I look just like them when I’m out running. By “look just like them” I mean look nothing like them and look like an almost 40 year old mom that could actually be their mom. Whatever. Let me have my little fantasies. Now let’s put these two thoughts together. 10k race. Almost 40 in a university city. I think I have finally done it guys. I have finally come to realise I am not in my 20’s. I know, I know it’s hard to believe, but yes I often think I’m just a little older than these young ones. It was a heart stopping moment a couple of years ago when I realised that they were all being born while I was starting my university life. What?!? How is that possible I’m just a few years older? I am not. I’m not sure why this has taken me a decade (or 2. Stop judging.) but somewhere along the way I stopped thinking I was getting older. Yet at the same time I’m so happy my 20’s are over. Whew! Those were intense emotional years. Great. But man I can remember tears over not looking just right and stress about hair and clothes that at this point seems silly because I still might wear some of those said clothes. And to be clear said clothes were not that cool back then so now I’m just a really really cool hip mom like you can imagine. Plus all the emotions. All the time. Everything was new. I wanted to be an adult but acted like a toddler. Dealing with family junk and trying to “find myself and my career.” When in reality I just liked the fact that I could eat popcorn for dinner because I was an “adult.” I digress.
This journey of Medical School for me has seemed intense and lonely and great all rolled into one life. Half way through that 10k race I realised something. People were passing me. A lot of people. But. I. Did. Not. Care. This is huge people. If you really know me you know I care about, well everything. What people think. Yep. I care. If people are better than me at things. Yep, care about that. If people think I’m funny or stupid. Yep. I care. If I’m winning at anything I try. Yep, care. I am competitive deep inside me even when no one can see it. What people say about me when I’m not around. Yep. Care about that too. I’m not proud of these cares but they are always pretty present in my life. Some days I can silence them to a point, but they are there and on my worst days they own the heck out of me. So when I realised I kinda didn’t care about the fact that I wasn’t fast and people were passing me (by people I mean not just cute uni girls, but older people above 60 & children. Serious.) I sort of wanted to stop and yell at all these people passing me by and say “hey you, yeah you. I so don’t care that you are passing me. Go ahead. I’m okay. I’m grown up. Take your cute clothes and your in shape body uni girl and keep right on trucking. I am all good.”
You will be happy to know that I did refrain from the above rant but I thought it. I thought the heck out of it! Then I remembered. I remembered two years ago. I was so scared in this race. I was terrified of being last. I was sure everyone would find out I was a fraud. I was crying. Real tears people. Real salty hot tears at the start line. This year I was trying to get the photographer of the paper to notice me in the huge group shot at the start line. I might have been the only American, so what, who cares? I’m even okay with that stereotype now.
So while my husband has been studying his butt off learning every single thing about the human body I have been evidently doing some learning myself. If you have followed along with this journey of mine you know I am fiercely independent and am not giving up my dreams for my husband’s, but we are figuring out how to both live in a place where we are being who we are created to be. The last almost 4 years (how is that even possible?!?) have been a place where I’m refinding my voice. Really understanding who I am and what I want to invest my time and energy in and what sacrifices I am willing to make or ask my family to make. I have realised moms don’t have to put their lives on hold they just blend their lives and passions and dreams. I don’t have the answer to so many of my “what’s next for me?” questions but I think that this Med School journey has been just as important for me. I needed to own my weaknesses. Find and embrace my insecurities in a safe place where I could see them as real but not debilitating. I needed time to wiggle and cry and laugh and figure out what my voice was. I needed to find my people and I have. I just heard a wise woman say it can take years for a woman to find her voice but when she does she is unstoppable. The amount of women right now reminding us that there is not one way to do life is phenomenal. I’m finding myself constantly reshaping the boundaries for mom and wife and creating new ways of seeing marriage and family and work life. I’m so thankful they have found their voice. It’s changing who I am and leaving a legacy for my family.
So right now the thing I know to be true is people can do the things they think they can’t. I ran a 10k and did not care what anyone thought. I can say I am almost 40 and not just a “little older” than the uni girls, nor do I look like them when I run. Well, I might just keep that lie in my head. Who is it hurting anyway to think I look like that fit 20 year old? No one. So there. I’m keeping that one, stop judging it’s fine. I will deal with that little bit of a fantasy at another time. Or maybe I won’t. I’m in charge of me. I’m the boss of me and I’m going to take my almost 40 year old self out for a run and love the fact that I’m almost 40 and pretend my body is 20. Or just go eat popcorn. Yeah maybe I’ll do that instead.