Tag Archives: being a gymnast

Set a goal. Cross it off. Set another.

When I was 15, I quit my first love—gymnastics. It was a decision that taught me so much about myself. I loved it, still do, but it was tearing me up mentally and giving myself the permission to quit meant giving myself permission to experience whatever life had in store and not put a big red FAILURE stamp on that chapter in my life.

I went on to run cross country and track. Something I didn’t know how to do. Something I had always hated. I was the 15-minute mile shrimp in elementary school. The girl who would’ve gotten the Presidential Fitness Award, or at least the National Fitness Award, if she didn’t get a big X in the mile every year. I could stretch and push up and sit up and pull up and all the things but running? No, not running.

And honestly, running felt like salt in the wound because I couldn’t play any other sports. I wasn’t any good at anything else. I had no hand eye coordination. I think it took me a month or two to see running as something to be admired. Something to push towards.

My dad spent hours with me at the local YMCA, in the months before school let out for the summer, training my breathing patterns and posture and arm movements, pushing me to round one lap of the indoor track without stopping to heave. He would stand at the corner of the track, pressed against the wall with a running watch, timing me, quietly propelling me to just keep going, one more step, that’s it.

Then we transitioned to running outside. My neighborhood had rolling hills and I remember thinking, “This is hard. This is nothing like the indoor track. You expect me to run 3 miles by August?” It was May and everything hurt. My calves. My quads. My lungs. I was a muscular 110 pounds and yet, I felt so heavy. Sluggish.

I started doing summer runs with the coach and some other girls and I remember the first time I ran 3 miles. It was mid-July, mid-morning, and I was coming around the corner down Walnut Street in Royersford, thumping down the uneven concrete sidewalk, trying to admire the houses I passed by. I had just stopped to walk a block when my coach came doubling back for me and pushed me to keep going, almost there. When I got to Lewis Road, the 7-11 on my left, I felt home free.

Running was never the plan. But those 3 last years of high school brought me so much joy, and so much appreciation for the limits of the human body. Set a goal. Cross it off. Set another.

A few people in my life are struggling with where to go next. They’re at crossroads, hoping they can just continue forward but realizing they can’t. And I want them to know that there is beauty in forcing yourself to set aside what you planned and follow the best path you see now, to push yourself into something you didn’t know you could love.

Lately, running has given me anxiety. Am I going to fast? What’s my heartbeat? Am I going to be okay? Can my body handle this?

When I was just 15, had never run more than a few hundred feet at a time, that was the last thing on my mind. I was just frustrated and tired and hot and out of breath. Our bodies are powerful. But so are our minds. They see us through. They know what we sometimes cannot know until we given in and trust. Let’s not forget that.

Printable // To-Do Lists

I was born to make to-do lists.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 9.25.42 PMScreen Shot 2013-06-26 at 9.31.06 PM

At thirteen, already I had learned the art of time management. It’s what happens when your life becomes a mess of four-hour saturday gymnastics practices and long weekends in hotel rooms.

Lazy kids just don’t do competitive gymnastics. They don’t point their toes until their insoles pull or do sets of hanging leg lifts at 9:30 p.m. They don’t drink 32 ounces of Gatorade in two hours.

And they certainly don’t stay up until 2 a.m. finishing homework.

I was a gym kid, a hair tie on either wrist. In high school, when gymnastics became cross country and I tacked on a love of filmmaking, I slept 5-6 hours a night, coasted through unlit subdivisions at quarter to seven in the morning, arriving home just in time for a late dinner and a pile of homework that made flirting on AIM pretty dang impossible.

Doing less wasn’t an option; neither was forgetting something.

In the wake of a wild adolescence, my list-making skills soared. So much so that to look at my to-do lists, shortened for the save of time to TDL, became daunting.

Now, whenever I look at what’s next and wonder whether I have it in me to press on, I think of those days ten years ago when my eyelids fluttered, heavy, as I tried to digest chapters of American history and conjugate Spanish verbs.

And it is then that I know, in light of every moment leading up to now, the only thing left to do is list it out. From there, the game is in crossing the struggles and the tasks off, one by glorious one.

Download these bright printable to-do lists (daily + weekly) for your own crazy life.

To-Do Lists:
+ Dark Aqua
+ Light Blue
+ Light Green
+ Purple
This Week Lists:
+ Dark Aqua
+ Light Blue
+ Light Green
+ Purple