I went for a run this morning in the middle of the woods. There’s a trail not too far from me surrounded by trees and accompanied by a stream. It’s a taste of serenity, but when I’m running or driving, I hate stopping- even if it’s to soak in a moment. Today, though, I had to make an exception. I was forced to pause, and pausing is something I know all too well.
I’ve taken myself off the dating market. This seems to be a difficult decision for people to fully grasp, but it’s something I had to do for me. I’ve been single since 2015, but up until last November I was constantly dating or in a new situationship. After having my fairy-tale shattered three times in a row, I realized I was meeting the same kind of men and needed time to unpack the part of me that was attracting this lesson. I needed to pause, just like I was forced to do during today’s run.
I had running goals this morning. There was a particular pace I wanted to hit and I was determined to be faster than my last run. Unfortunately, my upset stomach kept me from pushing as hard as I wanted. At first, I tried running faster, but when it became apparent that running was making Mother Nature’s call worse (sorry for the TMI), I knew I had to reluctantly stop. Instead of walking it off and ruining my time, I stopped completely and sat by the trees to watch the stream.
Water has always been calming and today was no different. As I stood on the rocks, I watched the water to the left of me inch along leisurely. I couldn’t help but notice how slowly it was moving even though it would soon be caught up in the rapid currents gushing to the right of me. The water on the left was going somewhere, but for the moment, it was peacefully progressing. It didn’t rush to get to the other side. It showed me my current self.
Goals aren’t a bad thing. Wanting to be married or financially free are understandable ambitions to pursue, but we don’t need to rush what’s ahead. Sometimes, there are things we need to sit in the moment and capture. There are lessons to be learned right where we are, and for today, I learned it’s not the end of the world to pause during a run. In fact, after soaking in the moment, I was able to finish the last half-mile of my run at a much quicker time. More importantly, today confirmed that slowing down to work on me is a part of the process.
Since I’ve taken the time to focus on me, I’ve discovered habits I possess that are not healthy for relationships from excommunicating people when we have issues, to avoiding close connections. I was rushing to achieve what my parents have (33-years of marriage), but I wasn’t pausing to work on who I needed to be in order to make that work. I was piling hurt on top of hurt and becoming calloused and insecure. From sister circles, to online sermons and therapy, these last eight months have been eye-opening and healing. Taking time to work on me was necessary.
It’s okay to pause. It’s okay to sit still and appreciate the moment regardless of the current ahead. Reflection and growth are essential parts of the process, don't rush them.