“You look strong and healthy,” my friend Sara said to me.
I felt like I might laugh maniacally or cry hysterically.
I’d just seen a woman pushing a baby about Audrey’s age in a stroller. The woman was running. She was long and lean and moving with the sort of ease and grace that I fear I might never possess again. In that moment the joy I’d been feeling while plodding around the park with my kids started evaporating. I became self-conscious about my size, my age, my fitness level, my…everything.
“Maybe she’s the nanny,” I thought to myself. “NO,” my inner critic countered, “she’s the mom; she’s just thin, young and athletic. Whereas you’re fat, old and out of shape. You. Suck.”
This inner dialogue is why I almost had a meltdown when Sara (who happened to be teaching a fitness class at the time) told me I looked strong and healthy.
I felt like laughing, “Bwahahahahaha! That’s ridiculous!”
I felt like crying, “Really?!? You mean it?!?”
Instead, I said, “Thanks,” and kept on plodding along the trail.
As I did, I let Sara’s words sink in.
What a great compliment! She didn’t finish it with, “…for just having had a baby,” or, “…for being in your forties.” But even if she had, I’d take it!
This encounter not only got me thinking about how we view ourselves (usually through a much harsher lens than others do), and how we constantly compare ourselves to others (almost always a bad idea), but also about seasons in life.
My Grandma Susan would often say, “No time is forever.” The phrase might be uttered in response to a difficult situation but could also come during great celebration.
And it’s true.
No matter where you are or what you’re experiencing right now – it isn’t forever.
Everything changes; whether you’re running or plodding along.
Cherish every good moment. Keep the frustrating ones in perspective. Know that even the worst of times will eventually end.