Today, I’m linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run for the Friday Five linkup. Each week, the link up has a different theme, and everyone gives their personal insight on the same subject.
In light of Thanksgiving, today’s subject is gratitude.
On the outside, my husband and I don’t have a lot in common. I’m pretty sure we’re exact opposites on the Myers-Briggs personality scale, where I am a proud ESTJ. Maybe that’s what makes us such a great couple- because our opposite traits compliment each other.
I have to give it to Clay, he puts up with my anxious ball of mess. I’m pretty self-sufficient, but any time I need him, he’s there and always has been. I admire the years he spent working nightshift while going to college for his computer science degree, and we still managed to squeeze in a date every Saturday night. With fewer restaurant options (and arguments over where to go!), date nights were easier in Florence.
We supported each other through moves, career changes, and life dramas, but came out on top.
Growing up, I always had what I wanted. My family was financially stable, and I almost always got whatever material things I needed. My dad bought me a car before I got my driver’s permit so I could learn. Christmases were always merry and full of gifts, we went on vacation each year, and my parents sent me off to college with enough money to make ends meet.
A few weeks ago, I visited my parents the night before I ran the Historic Georgetown Bridge 2 Bridge Half Marathon, and my mom asked what I wanted for Christmas. I told her I didn’t really want anything, except to be with my parents at the race the next day. My parents will enter their 70s next year. Although my mom walks 3 miles a day and is healthy, someday they won’t be able to come to my races and cheer from the sidelines.
I feel the same way about Clay’s family, who were there for me when I ran my one-and-only marathon and had water on the course for me and cheered, even after volunteers abandoned water stops and I was alone. They helped us move and visit occasionally. I love seeing his grandparents in NC as well- the only set of grandparents both of us have left.
I can always make more money and buy more stuff. You can’t get time with family back.
When you’re on your own, your friends become your second family. In the past two years, I’ve had friends exit my life but had new friends enter my life. People’s true colors come out, and while that sometimes ends friendships, it can also make them stronger.
I miss many of my college friends and friends who have moved away, and I’m grateful to keep up with them on social media and occasionally (although rarely) see them.
It’s no secret that I can be very down on myself about running. Even if I have a nightmare 5 mile run, I still ran 5 miles. Five miles is a long way to run! So many people are dealing with cancer, heart disease, athletic injuries, or other conditions that prevent them from being as active as they’d like. I’ve had friends experience cancer diagnoses, health scares, and athletic injuries.
We all have bad runs and races, but I’ve always had a second chance. Aside from a hip “niggle” that required an ortho visit and some PT, I have stayed injury-free this year, and I’ve only been to the doctor for routine visits. Minus a grilling accident that required an urgent care visit, Clay has too.
In 2012, six months after moving to Charleston, Clay and I went on a cruise vacation to the Western Caribbean. It wasn’t our favorite cruise, and when I saw Rural West Ashley on our drive back, I finally felt at home here. It took 6 months of living in Charleston for it to become home.
Living near a city has lifestyle advantages. Growing up in a very rural area, I didn’t have a gym or healthy grocery store nearby. Running alone on country roads isn’t always safe, and some towns don’t have road races or safe running routes. For some, those luxuries require almost an hour of driving. When you move, you realize why so many in the rural southeast struggle with health issues, and you realize it’s not anyone’s “fault”.
I don’t live in the most glamorous area or the biggest home, but we’re a short drive away from beaches, bridges, and downtown. Thousands of people flock here for warm weather, vacations, and eventually move here. Plus, we’re less than two hours away from my parents and about two and a half hours from his parents.
I know every blogger is writing about thankfulness this weekend, and maybe this is a little cliche, so power to those who’ve read this far. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and spent it doing activities that bring you joy- being with family and friends, volunteering, cooking, shopping, or turkey trotting.