My last post was one of the realer posts I’ve put up on this site, and coincidentally it was one of my most popular posts to date. It’s wonderful to know that my readers are cool with reading some more serious stuff once in a while.
I’m still in a bit of an outrage-haze, but I’m coming back from it. I’ve been self-caring it up, spending extra time with friends and family, trying to get a little extra sleep, cooking, and watching all the Harry Potter movies over again.
What? You don’t consider you childhood literary best friends a source of comfort?
I’ve also been working on giving back a little bit more. See, a few years ago I was working as a summer camp counselor, and things weren’t going so well in my cabin. My co-counselors and I left a staff meeting feeling particularly negative one day, trading complaints back and forth, spitefully wishing for solutions that we weren’t open to coming up with ourselves. Eventually, one of the my co-counselors stopped and said “you know what we should do?!”
“What?” we all asked.
“We should go up to the staff lounge and write positive notes to people.”
“Huh?” I mean, it didn’t feel like a solution. We wanted more sleep and fewer behavior problems and more support in our activity areas and more break time and better food and…notes? Positive notes? Warm fuzzies, if you will?
“YES! We need to take this negative energy and turn it positive!!”
And so we did. We spent an hour writing notes and fuzzies and tucking them into mail boxes. And it felt amazing. And I learned that a lot of the time, you need to force it. You need to force the good to come out.
Nowadays I turn negative into positive by volunteering and participating in charity activities. I help out with my school’s DreamFar High School Marathon Team, and I am a Big Sister through Big Brother’s Big Sisters. I also pick up volunteer opportunities as they pop up online, and try to contribute to friend’s charity projects as best I can. Giving back makes me feel like I’m part of something good, even in dim times.
Last weekend I volunteered at the New Hampshire Marathon. I grew up vacationing on the race course, and my parents live nearby. The small-town race benefits several local charities,including the community center I frequented as a kid. I wanted to run the race, but since my injury prevented me from doing that, I helped out at the Mile 9.5 drink station.
I was a little nervous that I’d feel really sad watching the marathoners run by and knowing that I wanted to be one of them. BUT race day dawned rainy, and my water station was 3/4 of the way up a several-mile long hill. So I felt pretty okay in my raincoat, handing out cups of gatorade and reassuring crampy runners that yes, it is flatter after this (by a very little bit).
Also, gratitude is cool. I loved handing runners a much needed drink and clanging a much-appreciated cowbell as they came past. I was so impressed by their grit and enthusiasm on what could have been a super yucky day. I met two runners who were over 80 years old, and they were both so friendly and inspiring.
I was feeling pretty warm and fuzzy once I finished my shift at the water table… in spirit only. I was freezing, as standing still in 55 degrees + pouring rain is super cold. I drank a ton of tea from my parent’s most massive mug, and waited for the rain to stop.
Then I headed out for my own three mile jog at about a 10:00 mile pace (we all start somewhere). The rain had slowed by then, and it felt great to stretch my legs a bit and hit some of the hills the way I used to. I actually ran past some of the volunteers near the end of the race course, and they started cheering for me; I let them know that I was actually NOT in the race, and they laughed and kept cheering anyhow. I finished my jog at the edge of the lake:)
Okay, now for some fun stuff…. I’M RUNNING THE BOSTON MARATHON!!
For the last two years, I’ve been applying to run the Boston Marathon for the charity affiliated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital where I was diagnosed and treated for Thyroid Cancer as a teen. I was so, SO thrilled when I was accepted onto the team a few weeks back!!
I’m hoping to raise over $7500 for Brigham and Women’s trauma innovation center, the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center. It’s an ambitious fundraising goal, but I am so excited to plan some fun events, reach out to some generous supporters, and help a charity that means so much to me! If you’re able, please consider making a small donation towards my cause:) If you’re in the Boston area, keep your eyes peeled and your calendars open for some fun charity events that I’m working on putting together!
So excited to share all about my training and fundraising over the next few months:)
Now You Tell Me…
- How do you fight back against negativity?
- Marathon training tips?!?
- Anyone else out there running Boston?