Last week I shared how language often helps me with my varying column topics and this week that still holds true. The topic of resolutions seems more than fitting for this issue of Dec. 28, but after nearly 10 years at this keyboard it is fair to say - much has been covered.
Earlier this month I heard a sentence which fits so well with this topic of ‘Resolutions.’ Upon asking a question of someone I was informed, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Now, I must be honest… This simple stream of words made my toes curl.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I have to say times they are a changing and at lightning speed. So in this day and age to think of this as the way we approach life or business, well it seems a bit dated.
I am one who appreciates tradition, but if we always do things because of habit and convenience well then we may be missing out on some really big stuff.
As I thought on this simple statement, I applied it to my life and all that it became in 2011.
I am not a supporter of the ‘resolution’ idea and I know that has been shared in past pieces. I am a fan of goal setting and personal challenges, which I truly ramped up a bit in 2011.
As a mom, I see and do everything differently than I did in early 2004 (prior to the birth of my oldest child). As my children grow and mature, I continue to embrace the responsibility I hold as a role model and example to them.
I am an older mom; that could not be helped. Over a year and a half ago I came to realize being an older mom could not be helped, being the fat mom, however – that was within my control. It was time to finally look like the person I truly knew and somehow lost when I entered this amazing little town. And so my journey began.
Once I began to conquer the food consumption portion of my problem with obesity (yes, obesity - 242 pounds on anyone under 6’7” is not overweight - it’s obese) I started to think about exercise.
At the encouragement of some friends I began to try running. Well, more walking than running, but together we used a program that helped us build our endurance and optimize our ability to run.
I feel it important here to share I have never been a runner. During my high school years I ran the 50 and triple jumped. I did this not because I loved track. I did it so that I could have physical education at the end of the day and not have to deal with midday showering. True story.
The idea of starting a running program at 42 years old was not something I would have ever imagined. “I am not a runner,” I protested to my friends as they recruited me to join them.
Somehow, somewhere, something happened during my ‘not a runner’ protests - I became one.
The craziness began with a simple promise to a young girl, which I shared the story of in a past column. This promise coupled with a goal of running the Bay to Breakers race and a 5K during a family trip to Hawaii. Six race bibs later I can honestly say, I am a runner.
I share this not to convince others to rush out, buy sneakers and join me. I share this, because I now realize a very valuable lesson.
Had I made a New Year’s resolution to ‘run three times a week’ or ‘run six races,’ it is highly probable that I would have failed… terribly. That is after all the pattern and expectation of New Year’s resolutions - we never truly see them through.
Luckily in this case, it was not a New Year’s Resolution and I had an audience - my daughter.
Returning from a run to her early morning greeting of “How was your run mommy?” just did something magical for my soul.
As the months wore on, I became stronger, dedicated and more confident. Now, in all fairness and honesty, I am not a fast runner or a ‘strong’ one and yes… I walk at times during my runs. With that said I am consistent and most importantly committed.
Running for me is therapeutic. It is the one time during any given day when I am at peace and simply alone with my thoughts. I gain a lot from a three- to five-mile run. Perspective on my life, column ideas, words to share with friends… It all finds me when I am running.
During one morning run I had an epiphany. As I huffed and puffed my way past mile four and still a good distance from mile five I realized - I am a runner. The thought blindsided me a bit. It was unimaginable.
Until that moment I had spent my whole life telling myself and everyone else: “I am not a runner. I will never be a runner. I hate running.”
Funny thing about life, things change.
I learned in that moment how I would field such exclamations when spoken by my children. True, in the moments of when I felt and said those things I was not a runner. But the old adage holds true ‘Never say never.’
Now when my children share that an activity, game or idea is just not for them I support them. I do however also follow-up my support with stating someday it may be just your thing.
So, as 2012 looms I simply try and prepare myself for the unimaginable. In the final hours of 2010, I never foresaw what 2011 would look like for my family. Now on the cusp of 2011 ending, I find it all amazing and exciting.
As a family we have learned to live with tradition but also to not “Do it the way we’ve always done it.”
And that - my friends and readers, is where the excitement truly lies.
Happy New Year!
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.