I will look for happiness in the present.

 The last few years of my life have changed me. Life is never enough; always wanting something different. I have this yearning for something more. There is fear of missing out. What if I die next year? Would I be content with how my life turned out? This idea of “never enough” causes unhappiness. It makes me ungrateful for what I have. 

Running has helped. It gives me an outlet to channel my fears into productivity. It gives me time and space to think about life. It helps me get out of bed and have a purpose. But when I’m spending hours a week running, I think maybe I’m wasting time. What is the point of running 32-Miles?

5.25 mile run in Gulf Shores, AL in Gulf State Park.

So, I have really been thinking about that question this past week. Why am I running? 

Yes, running gives me the goals I need to wake up and reach for something great every day, but a variety of things could do that. 

Yes, it may inspire others to take that first step in recovery and spread awareness of what stage four cancer survivors can do. 

Yes, running makes me strong and keeps me healthy. 

But, what is the main reason I am running from point A to point B? 

I am running 32 miles of Alabama beaches because when I thought my life was over, I chose to do something big. When I finish 32 miles I will have brought myself from my weakest point in my life to my strongest self at a place that brings me true happiness. 

My new identity of “runner” has helped me see myself as something else besides a cancer survivor but I still find myself believing cancer is my life. It is so easy to slip into the mindset of “poor me” or identify as a victim. Having a new identity/title doesn’t mean I’ve changed or are in different circumstances. The “new me” must consist of a new mindset. Support groups, counseling or medication can guide me but will not change who I am. I have to change my mindset and how I see life to truly change. I have to find happiness inside me, not search for it around me. Just like getting up for a run is a choice I make; lasting happiness is a choice. Sure, moving to the beach, buying new things, going out to dinner would bring immediate happiness but the joy in all of that would wear off in time. 

This idea isn’t new- finding joy inside rather than searching the world for it. I, for sure, didn’t come up with it, but putting into practice is hard. The world is consumed with greed, self-gratification, and the “new” best thing promising a better life. It is easy to fall into the trap. I have to make the choice to be still and see the things God has blessed me with. I need to be grateful for each day and see the beauty for what it is rather than what it could be. I keep searching for a great purpose or big moment. I’m slowly realizing by doing so, I’m missing my main purpose and the little moments. 

Today, I will look for happiness in the present. I will continue to train and work toward my goals. Today I will think about my purpose and what it means to fulfill it. 

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