Leah VanHooseComment

No Worries

Leah VanHooseComment

I ran a marathon. 

Once. 

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy running, I like being by myself, sweating and sorting through the shit that constantly clogs my brain.  When I set out to run this marathon I was really only doing it to mark it off my bucket list and get skinny.  I did those two things and it was during those long slow distances that I learned to let go. 

You see, I was always a worrier.  I thank my mother for that, she is the biggest worrier I ever met.  I’d worry about the usual stuff, money, my kids, world hunger.  If it was sad or heart breaking, I’d take it on as my problem or worry.  Yeah, carrying that crap around starts to get heavy, it’s tough running 10 miles holding on to the weight of the world.  This is when I started letting it go, depositing my worries on the side of the road hoping the garbage man would come by and pick them up.  

What I realized is no matter how much I worried, nothing changed.  The problem was what it was going to be whether I worried about it or not.  Most worries you have no control over.  You can’t change the fact that Uncle Bob has cancer or your brother is losing his house.  Those worries come out of nowhere, slap you in the face and leave you stunned for a second thinking “what the fuck just happened?”, while the worries you can control, like your ever increasing waist band or your misery in your job or your unhappiness with your spouse can be changed but it’s easier to just worry about instead of changing it.

My biggest worry was always money, or lack there of.  I’d grown up poor, never enough but Mom always found a way to get us what we needed just nothing extra.  As soon as I was legally old enough to get a job, I did, working my way up to assistant manager at the local convenience store at age 16.  I found a way to get what I wanted, working every day after school to save up so I could go to Europe.  Looking back I see that anything I wanted I could make happen just had to want it enough.  These were the thoughts and memories that drifted through my head during those long miles.  There were also thoughts on how I would save the world but that’s another blog post.  Anyway, back to my original point, worrying about money.

I decided to sign up for my marathon through The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  For the training, race cost, flight etc we were required to fundraise.  My job was to raise $5,000.  If we didn’t meet our goal we had to pay the difference.  Wow, holy shit, that’s a lot of money and I HATE asking people for it. 

Hmmmm, never mind, I never wanted to run that far anyway… 

The thing is I convinced two of my friends to run that far with me.  I couldn’t back out being the originator of the whole stupid idea.  It was on and I was worried.  

 Skinny me after 26.2 miles...look, no worries!

Skinny me after 26.2 miles...look, no worries!

The initial miles were short, 2, 4, 6, getting progressively longer, as they got longer my worry threshold was taking a beating.  What good was all these scenarios I played out in my head of things that could possibly happen?  All I was doing was stressing myself out and sucking all the joy out of my runs, because you know running 10 miles is joyful. 

Yes, that’s sarcasm if you didn’t detect it. 

But there is a sense of calm and some happy little endorphins in there.  That’s when I dropped it.  I dropped it in a pile on the side of the road.  I realized instead of worrying and making up horrible scenarios in my head I made a plan and the scenarios played out the way I directed them to.  No more worry, only action.  I control my life, not the other way around.  That little change of perspective changed my entire life.  

I no longer worry about anything.  What happens, happens.  If I can’t control it, I control my reactions.  I know everything will work out one way or another and it’s just another lesson in this journey we call life.

Artist, dreamer, lover of life. Former gym owner redefining me.