The Pursuit

In the great state of Pennsylvania, this time of year brings so many wonderful things: blossoming flora, tons of animal activity, sunshines and warm weather…

…along with allergies. Ticks. Checking the dog for ticks. Yardwork. And PSSAs.

I don’t know what it is about 2.5 hours of silent testing periods over 7 days, but I’ve been reflecting.

During these testing days, I’ve shown some of my middle school students the Lifetime movie “Homeless to Harvard.” It’s based on the true story of Liz Murray, a girl living in New York City. Both of her parents were drug addicts, and both contracted HIV. Liz found herself homeless at the age of 15, and ultimately decided she wanted to rise above her situation. She completed high school in 2 years and earned a scholarship from the New York Times. Can you guess where she went to college?

Anyway. My kids were transfixed on this movie. A lot of them can relate to her situation. And we had to see the “real” Liz. Which led to THIS Ted Talk. It has hit me in a such a profound way.

In my pursuit of physical health through exericse and diet, that mental health can be overlooked. And if you happen to be a male, you most likely cannot fathom the circus of emotions that women endure.

To illustrate my point, I present to you a brief vignette  of my inner dialogue in the morning:
6:25 – Hm, if I get to the kitchen now, I can make my healthy smoothie. But I need to go floss and brush my teeth.
6:30 – My teeth are nice and clean. Crap, I need to pack a lunch.
6:35 – Okay, it’ll take me about 10 minutes from start to finish to make this smoothie. Or, I can leave now and grab something from Panera. Mm. I love their chai latte with almond milk. But they charge 50 cents for the almond milk. And it doesn’t last very long. But it’s delicious. I should probably just make the smoothie. But a hot breakfast sandwich would be good. No. Cheaper to make a smoothie at home. Wait. I got paid this week. When is the last time I had Panera? Maybe I should treat myself. Well, I kind of treated myself yesterday with that slice of pizza. Crap. I have to get going. Okay, okay. I’ll make the smoothie.
6:45 – Smoothie in hand. I’m glad I’m saving money today. Man, that chai latte sounded good. Maybe I should stop at Dunkin’ Donuts for some coffee. It’s on the way to work. But I can make coffee in the Keurig at school. I did get paid this week. And it’s bigger and cheaper than Panera…
7:05 – I’m at school. My smoothie is gone. That smoothie wasn’t so big. Maybe I should have some of those nuts that I packed in my lunch. I wish there was a treat in my mailbox this morning. I could go for something sweet to start off this morning. Maybe I should make some coffee and drink some water and I won’t be so hungry anymore. UGH I wish I had that chai latte!
7:30 – I’m still kind of hungry. I wonder if there’s something I can snack on. What time is lunch? Hm, maybe during my prep I can have a little something. I can make it. I think.

My point? It’s still a struggle to change my mindset from “Live to Eat” to “Eat to Live. And I don’t want my life to be weighed down with this kind of mental struggle on a daily basis. I want my life to be meaningful. I want to do more wondering. What could I achieve if I pushed myself harder? To consider the grander scope of life? Is it possible to put eating in a sub-category of my life, where it doesn’t demand so much of my attention and effort?

I’m starting to dream a little bigger with my goals in fitness. Reaching more people. Pushing myself a bit further. But I’ve come to realize that I’m at a very comfortable, easy place. I’ve started doing pole, which feels awesome, but I’m not getting out of my comfort zone.

With my third decade of life on the horizon, I can’t think of a better time push myself a little bit further. I wonder what I could accomplish if I went beyond what is comfortable. I wonder what could be accomplished if I could help other people push beyond their comfort zones.

liz murray quote


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