I’ve had a lot of time these days to think. In so many ways, I’m more busy now than ever before, and yet I’ve somehow been given the gift of time to think. Sounds funny, I know, but it’s true. In less than eight weeks, I’m running my first marathon. Getting in all of the training has forced me to make changes in so many areas of my life – from how and what I eat to trying to figure out what to wear to stay warm enough but not be too hot AND be able to make my fingers work. The biggest change, however, is that I am carving out time to run.
If someone asked me a year ago whether I would be able to find the time to fit something like this into my life, I would have laughed and quickly said ‘no’.
A year ago, I was neck deep in work. Two years ago, same thing. And so it goes, on and on. I’m a work-a-holic. Since I started baking in my house and taking orders, I have let work determine the flow of my life. I’m not used to thinking of things numerically and assigning values to thoughts, but if pressed, I would guess that 90% of the time this routine worked for me and made me happy, while 10% of the time it caused extreme stress, guilt, frustration and worry. Maybe these percentages are off. Maybe these percentages show how much I’m an optimist and adept at looking back and remembering much more of the good than the difficult.
Regardless of the accuracy of the evaluations, suffice it to say I work a lot and it’s my happy place. It’s a puzzle I am determined to keep working on until I figure it out. At no point did the time commitment required to run a business run through my brain as a problem. Rather, this was a given premise of my life. Did the woman who had the idea in 2005 that she could do this have any clue how this would unfold? Would she have thought she could make the time to do what was required to work on this? I know with certainty that these are questions I never once asked myself.
When the opportunity came up to run in the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber, I went for it. No hesitation. No contemplation. Nothing but that driving thought – YES.
Just as I found the time to run my company, I’ve found a way to train for the marathon. And throughout the training, I’ve received the very unexpected gift of time. Time away from work. Time to think. Time to wrestle with my brain. Time to doubt, time to challenge myself, time to listen to music, podcasts and books, time to figure out how to cope when my ear buds malfunction and there is no music…just the rhythmic panting of my breathing, time to think about things I never would have known to think about such as whether I should move my ankles more when I do my old lady shuffle.
2020 is a big year for my family and for me. My oldest is graduating from college, my youngest is graduating from high school, and today, I am 50. I am able to process all of this because I have time.
The time on the road has allowed me to think about my children, my family, my friends, and how grateful I am to be able to participate in everything that comes my way.
The time on the road has allowed me to explore how many challenges I can endure before I quit.
The time on the road has allowed me to see how quickly I can rebound after momentarily giving up.
The time on the road has given me a safe place where I can feel, cry, sing, create, breathe, push, freeze, face obstacles and make decisions how to navigate my way through life.
The time on the road has given me the opportunity to meet the most incredible people.
Little did I know how much the work I’ve dedicated toward building Bisousweet would provide me the mindset that has helped me train for a marathon. The parallels are surprising. I didn’t have a plan when I started baking, nor did I have a plan when I said yes to the marathon. When people offered me help along the way with the business, I said ‘no thanks’ at first because I was stubborn, proud, embarrassed, ashamed. Same with running…some of my closest friends were ready to help, and my gut reaction was to pull back so I could figure it out on my own. In a funny way, this pattern could be seen as a ‘strategy’, but one that is reactive, limited.
Over time, I’ve grown up. I’ve learned to accept help and to be grateful I have people who care and are willing to step forward to support me.
As much as I’ve changed, I still have moments when I revert back to that girl who makes impulsive decisions, who is too proud to ask for or accept help, who is shy and yet wants to connect with as many people as possible. And then, I think of the incredible mentors in my life, I give myself permission to be human, I roll my shoulders back and I start doing my old lady shuffle in a new direction. I love that I have so many opportunities where I have the ability to say YES. In a world where so many people caution others to say ‘no’ more often, I challenge all of us to do the opposite.
I’m grateful to be able to be 50.
I’m grateful for the life lessons that continue to blossom around me.
I’m grateful for my family, my friends, my work family, my community.
I’m grateful to be able to do what I love for work
I’m grateful to be able to bring my old lady shuffle to the Boston Marathon this year.
Let’s do this!