For a long time, I thought I was your average gal. I thought that my story was nothing to write home about and instead it was your average tale of your average suburban gal looking to make something of her average self. But over the past few years, unbeknown to me, I took hold of the proverbial reigns and began to make myself. And wouldn’t ya know it…it’s been some of the best years of my life!
That’s why when Nike Women asked me to be a part of their Make Yourself Movement, I was not only honored, but I couldn’t be more excited (enter: squeaaaaaaal). I wanted to share my little story with the world and my two cents on why making yourself passionate was essential to making myself today.
Guilty confession/fun factoid: I was 12 pounds when I was born. Ok…did I get your attention yet? Fantastic! Let’s move on…
As you may have picked-up, I’m a crazy type-A and always have been my entire life. This high-school cheerleader and passionate student was nothing more than a mediocre track athlete for four years. Sprinting? Not my bag, baby. Long distance? Sign this sister up! After finally finding my niche senior year and being introduced to what would later become my passion (‘eh hem: marathons), a hip injury soon left me on the side-lines, causing my love for running to come to a screeching halt. For those who have been injured before, I think you can share the feeling of sheer, overwhelming joy the first time you hop on the treadmill after months of PT and you can finally run a mile again. Every step is an accomplishment and every pain free mile is something to write home about. At this very moment, you realize what an amazing gift a functioning body is and you vow to never forget it.
Throughout the college years, I envied people who knew what they wanted to do with their lives. You, Mr. Doctor, I applaud you for being so driven and decisive. You, Mrs. Engineer, bravo for going after what you love. Me? I had no idea what I wanted to do. A few career counselors and Myers-Briggs tests later, I was more confused than ever. Rather than pulling a Van Wilder, I decided that I just have to trust my passion. I picked two things that I was good at and decided that while I don’t know if this is what I want to do, I will do it and I will kick ass. No questions asked. Be passionate about everything that you do, and when you are, you will never look back saying woulda-shoulda-coulda.
For the next five years, I looked forward and never stopped. I studied like crazy. I held internships at a hospital, at an ad agency and at Rolling Stone. I dabbled in triathlons. I earned my B.A. in Journalism and B.S. in Marketing, Magna Cum Laude. I met the man that I am going to marry. And I began to realize all that being active can do.
One of my first-ever triathlons. Holla!
But everything came to a screeching halt when the economy took a turn for the worse: how is a college graduate supposed to find a job with some of the worst unemployment rates of all time (wait, I’m pretty sure this is a Alexis Bledel movie)? Application and application later, I was losing hope when fortunately, I found a job at a start-up in San Francisco. With minimal options, this born and raised Nevadan made the jump to the Bay Area.
Small town girl working in a big city…ahhh…quintessential story, no? While it may be one you’ve heard before, it’s also a story that comes with all of stereotypical detractors and motivators. Scared shitless and unhappy, I made an rash decision to quit the job I had worked so hard to find without any other back-up jobs aligned. For four months, yes, four months I spent 10 hours a day on job boards, networking and doing everything I could imagine to land my dream gig while Brian Williams reported unemployment sob stories from around the country. However, amidst the unemployment tears was a silver lining: hello long lost friend, Mr. Running. Can we call this the rebirth? Yes, yes, let’s do so.
With the extra time on my hands I began to regain a passion for running and what it meant to have endorphines wipe all of my unemployed stress away…even just for an hour. As my passion for running was rekindled, I found a job that better suited who I was and I’m still at this job today.
Along with a steady income comes one specific running perk: races! And let me tell you, I spend more each month on races than I do clothing, but every damn mile, medal and awkwardly fitting shirt is worth it, because this my friend, is what I’m passionate about.
From that moment on, I have truly lived the motto: work hard, play harder. Everything that you want – job, PRs, goals – won’t just float your way on some dainty little butterfly. Hell no. You better be prepared to WORK for it. But when you’re passionate about what you’re working for, it doesn’t feel like work at all. Instead, it becomes a source of happiness that you couldn’t imagine living without. Over the past two years, I’ve grown to recognize that passion is the driving force of all that I do, the reason I smile everyday, and why I feel that I’ve made myself…thus far.
Focused on one small goal at a time, my passion propelled me to check off items on my bucket list. Finish a half marathon under two hours? Check. Run a marathon? Check. Run a marathon under four hours? Check. Qualify for the Boston Marathon? Check. Running is my passion and reminds me why I do what I do, everyday.
It reminds you why the tears are worth all the pain.
It reminds you why the sweat’s salt tastes so good.
It reminds you why dead toenails are the sexiest pedicure you’ve ever seen.
Make yourself passionate and see what you can accomplish. I dare you.