It’s Easter month. Not my most favorite holiday, but it is a holiday nonetheless, and holidays are my favorite days of the year. So since Easter is approaching, and Easter brings the Easter bunny, who brings baskets full of goodies packaged in cute little eggs, I want to talk to you about why its important to have your eggs in many different baskets, (i.e. finding and creating balance in your life).
Did you follow that pattern? See how my brain works? Now you know why I don’t sleep all that well at night. Hashtag: over thinker.
So, balance. Balance, in definitive terms, is “a state of equilibrium,” having or achieving “mental steadiness,” or “emotional stability.” For 23 years of my life, I was not balanced. I was as wobbly as they come, and let me tell you why.
I grew up running. And not just your jog in the park on Sundays when its sunny and there isn’t any wind, kind of running. I grew up training to be the best in the sport. To get a full scholarship at a division I university. To make an Olympic team. There was no limit to the dreams I was dreaming and I, Hanna, slowly and surely became synonymous with running. I put myself in such a small box that I would not allow anything or anyone inside that small circle who could disrupt my path to success. Guys, I didn’t even go to prom in high school! It was those very dreams that came at the expense of fully becoming myself. Instead of putting my eggs in several different baskets, I followed an accepted metric as to what I thought I “needed” to do to become a great athlete, and completely and totally lost all balance in my life.
Now don’t get me wrong. I have never and will never regret my journey on time running. Not. One. Bit.
I am beyond blessed to have been given the opportunities I was given, to have formed the relationships I have, to travel to beautiful places, to have been coached by coaches with such passion and drive it could make you puke. This was all “given” to me while I attended classes “for free” at one of the best universities in the nation. But, I was also taught very narrow parameters of self-understanding and self-acceptance. I was taught (albeit self-taught), that my worth was solely attached to the time or place I achieved in a workout or race. I fully believed that my value hindered on what my body was able to give me on any given day.
Fast forward 3 years. Three years removed from the collegiate system–As I learn more about my unique needs and abilities, I’ve learned to buck some of what I believed to be true. Of course, I’m not blaming myself here…it was easy to define myself by an external metric or by what I was doing. I think many of us look to define ourselves in this way. I even learned to define myself by comparing myself to others…to my teammates, to my competitors, to my classmates, to my siblings. For me, running became my way of life. I was literally running from competition to competition, from should to should, from restriction to restriction. Anything that would give me validation. I just kept running. And I did this without ever considering an alternative. When you’re always trying to fit yourself into a so-called “box”, you never stop to question why there is a box in the first place.
Nowadays, I still run. Oh yes, that will always be a huge part of my life. But I’ve learned to fill my life with other things.
Other things being family.
And laughter and food and so much more, I feel like my heart could burst…I am no longer just, “Hanna the runner,” and my life is more beautiful after having discovered that truth.
You are not what you do. You are you. Define yourself, instead, by the beauty in which you bring to this world.