I don't remember exactly when I first realized this, that I get to do this, that I get to have this whole experience, but I know it was fairly early on in the process. Apparently, it was not a new idea in the fitness world--the idea that you don't have to do this, you get to do this. But I hadn't come across this concept, and, frankly, I'm glad that I came to it on my own--it just packs a little more punch for me that way.
So, I couldn't tell you the date it happened, but the feeling around the moment is as clear as day: I was overwhelmed; maybe feeling a little sorry for myself. I was feeling pinched for time. Something probably hurt--my legs, my knees... I didn't think I could do my run. I indulged in the thoughts of how hard this is. And I offhandedly thought I don't have to do this, when something clicked: Oh, yeah, no: I don't have to do this. This is not an order. This is not a mandate. This is not a punishment. I get to do this. I get to go out there and run! I have a strong body; I get to do this. I have legs that work; I get to do this. My heart is pumping, I can take deep breaths, I can see, I can bend, I can jump. I can try to run fast. I can run up hills. I can lift things. I can crawl under things. Actually, I woke up today, and I'm alive, and I can move. I have these gifts today. They are not guaranteed.
I grew up in that moment, at 50 years old. In some ways, that's where the journey really started. The seeds of ownership, and self responsibility, and commitment, and gratitude--even bravery--were all born in that realization. Being aware of this privilege, that I Get To Do This, becomes more and more prominent for me the further I run down this road. Life has plenty of hardships, and obstacles, and setbacks--globally, in my community, in my circle, and even for me. Running continues to teach me to see these challenges as opportunities. And these lessons are being firmly planted, should a time come that I can't run.
But today, I get to run. And I won't take that for granted.