Yes, I’m aware I misquoted Mean Girls, but stay with me because in my head, it will wrap up and become relevant.
Since I started writing weekly blog posts back in January, I’ve uncovered lots of topics and given my thoughts on holidays, hobbies, and of course, happiness. But for the most part, and ever since I began work with The Smile Project, I’ve tried to keep some degree of separation between my personal life and the business.
Today, that changes.
Last Easter, April 20th, 2014, I woke up with a paralyzing pain my head. My entire body was in a terrible ache and nothing felt right. It was as though I had instantly become exceptionally weak and unable to do basic things like walk up the stairs without losing my breath.
I finished my sophomore year of college and retired to my parent’s home for a summer of doctors, medications, and rest. I wasn’t able to do this or that and I could feel the limits of whatever had taken over my body taking over my mind as well.
For over a year, I struggled to look at a computer screen for more than a half hour or to read more than a few pages of a book at a time. Sometimes, it was just plain difficult to function.
After my junior year of college concluded, I found myself still dealing with the effects of the illness. I threw away the big grandiose plans I had brewing in my head and opted for one last summer at my parent’s house and local job opportunities.
It has been 1 year, 2 months, and 25 days since I first got sick, but yesterday, I went for a run.
Yes, a run.
I had tried once prior, earlier this spring. IPod in hand, I walked for a song, then ran for a song, then walked…etc. But even the music in my ears couldn’t distract me from the voices reminding me it was a terrible idea.
This time, though, was different. I’d had it in my head for a while…how I would build back up to working out. I had stabilized myself on medicine and had been feeling okay. Now I was ready to push the limit.
I set off for the park yesterday morning, convinced I would alternate between running and walking and stop if I didn’t feel well—a harsh contrast to my cross country and long distance track work outs.
I got to the park with a soundtrack in my ears and took off. I decided, as I flew up a concrete hill onto the trails, that I wasn’t going to stop. I was just going to run until I couldn’t anymore. I ran for 25 minutes by the playlist in my head and returned to a lifting and core workout.
And that’s when I realized something about limitation. It doesn’t have to be real. The only limits that exist are the ones we put on ourselves.
As I write this blog post early Wednesday morning, you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve already followed up with day two of working out and am incredibly happy with how things are going.
But this isn’t a fitness blog nor is it a “let’s talk about my life” blog.
This is about happiness because much like you shouldn’t limit your physical abilities,
you shouldn’t limit your joy.
Ever since I began The Smile Project, I’ve become a much happier person. I’ve now grown accustomed to people referring to me as “the happiness girl.” I’d always just accepted that I was happy. I mean, I was. There was nothing wrong. Sure there were obstacles but I was happy. It was as though I thought there was a finish line to joy. It was like I had thought, “Well, I’m pretty happy…guess this is as good as it gets.”
Now though, in hindsight, I’m realizing that what I had settled for was a feeling of contentment. I was going through motions and sure, I was smiling. But I hadn’t taken the big leap to let myself be happy.
Then, four months ago, while watching a television show with my best friend, (who I’ve secretly been in love with for 3 years) he kissed me.
He kissed me and set me off on this whirlwind of happy that I didn’t know even existed. I spent months researching happiness and years trying to define it but I have never experienced happy like this…a high that won’t go away and in fact, a high that gets better and better every day. I suppose this is what they refer to as euphoria.
Now there are a lot more factors going into why I constantly want to run and dance and scream about how happy I am (mainly the fact that for the first time in my life I feel like I’m on the right track). But like I said, I’m trying not to make this post all about my giddy joy.
What I’m trying to say (I hope this worked) is that the limit should not exist.
Not on what you can do physically and especially not on how you feel emotionally.
There’s no telling how much happiness we can find if we open our eyes and look around…if we take a leap of faith…and if we love like none other.
Thanks for reading this personal post…I know it’s a little different than a usual Wednesday blog. As always, reach out to me on Facebook with your comments and feedback!