Last year at this time I was merely going through the motions of everyday life at school. I missed my family and even though I thought that being on the cross country team would make the transition better, it actually ended up making it a lot worse. We had cross country practice at 7 AM everyday and the coach didn’t care about the people that weren’t in his top 7. Everyone ran by themselves. That’s not a team. We trained and trained for just 3-4 meets. That wasn’t worth it to me. I would wake up every morning, half-heartedly go to practice, and then go to the library to catch up on studying. I missed my old teammates. I missed my friends and family. I wanted to be with people of similar values. I needed to find some real friends who would be there for me when I needed it most.
But now one year later I am a MUCH happier person.
I’m mentally and emotionally healthier. I wake up excited to start a new day. My group of friends here are the people that I know will be there for me when I need a good pick-me-up or a good laugh. I not only have a support system in my hometown, but I have a support system here now that wasn’t here at this time last year. It’s hard to be sad or upset here now because I know that I’ll always have people to turn to for advice and guidance. And yes, life can get stressful sometimes, but by surrounding yourself with good people you can find a way to manage the stress in a healthy way.
I’m also physically healthier than last year. Since I am training for something I actually want to train for, I have found myself looking forward to going out for a run everyday. I’m embracing the challenge of the hills around here instead of letting them defeat me. I enjoy every mile whether it’s uphill or downhill because I am grateful for every day I get to go for a run. My mileage may not be as high as some other runners and I may not be able to average sub-8 minute miles around here but I am happy with my own progress. There’s no purpose in comparing myself to others who are training for the same race that I am. Everybody has a different approach to training. And my approach is what works best for me. That’s the beauty of the running world. We may all take different approaches to training for the same race but on race day we all have to cover the same distance and follow the same course to reach the finish line.
So here I am, one year later, content with every part of my life. I’ve gained true friendships that I know I can depend on. I have surrounded myself with people who truly care about one another’s well-being. I have found my place on this campus and I have found my happiness. Of course I still miss being home and spending time with my family and my dogs, but my friends here have eased the difficulty of being so far from home which has made living here enjoyable and memorable. I don’t think I have to state who these people are because you probably already know who you are. But I just wanted to let you know how important your friendship is to me and that without such an awesome group of people who I can depend on for guidance, support, and prayer, I probably would be going through the motions instead of living out the memories.
What a difference a year can make.