When our passion is taken away …

I’m nine months into recovery from ankle surgery, and the journey has been anything but easy. However, I have learned many lessons along the way. None of us are guaranteed another day, and no one is immune to injury. We shouldn’t worry or stress about what may or may not happen, but we do need to be aware that there may come a day when we are unable to perform on the level we want to be at.

So what do we do when our passion gets taken away?

I don’t believe I’ve hit my peak in running just yet. I ran the Boston Marathon in 2016 and thought I was near my peak then. However, last fall I trained for another Boston Marathon bid and a personal best. I ran the St. George Marathon in Utah, and I crushed my PR by 12 minutes! That’s almost 30 seconds faster per mile. If I am capable of that, I still don’t believe I’ve peaked!

I was already contemplating my next race and next huge goal, but then it happened. I was on a leisurely run with one of my running buddies, mid-December. The weather had been abnormally warm, so we hadn’t been thinking ice. I truly despise the treadmill — or the dreadmill — so a light snowfall couldn’t keep us from getting in an outdoor run. But the light snow covering did keep us from seeing the hidden ice that lay below our feet. It had cooled just enough the night before that the puddles on the trails pooled and iced over, and the light snow on the ground sneakily covered the danger below.

When I went down, it wasn’t pretty. It was fast and painful, and I knew right then that my running days were being ripped away from me.

Granted, I’m thankful that it’s temporary, but even so, it tore me apart inside. Running was everything to me. It calmed me on stressful days; it was where I reflected on life; my goals and disciplines stemmed from my training; even my business is running focused at its core. 

When the doctor let me in on the news that not only was my ankle broken, but I tore at least one ligament, and my ankle was completely out of alignment, I fell apart. He said it would be six months post surgery before I could even attempt to try to run again, and at that time it would be a very slow process getting back to where I once was. 

It was like something was trying to take away my passion for running. I no longer could do what I love to do. However, through this process of recovery, I’ve learned a few things:

Anything can become an idol or an addiction in your life if you let it consume you

Anything can become an idol or an addiction in your life if you let it consume you. It’s important to evaluate our passions and see if any have become idols or addictions in our lives. Does anything in your life take all your focus? If it were taken away, would your whole world collapse? If so, it means you’re in danger of creating an idol for yourself. It could be your work, a hobby, your spouse, or even your kids. I don’t believe running was an idol in my life, but, I have to admit, the runner’s high is slightly addicting.

“An injury is not just the process of recovery; it’s a process of discovery.” — Conor McGregor

We cannot take anything for granted

We cannot take anything for granted. All that we have we may not have tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Sometimes I took running for granted, and I forgot to appreciate that I was able to continue the activity I love. I, for one, have things so good. I live in a great country, I have an amazing family, and I have a wonderful home and great friends. I took my health for granted, but I won’t any longer. When I step out on the pavement and run now, I’m so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to grow my passion again. I’m doing run/walk intervals, still getting back to normal, but I will never take my ability for granted again.

Find other areas of interest

We need to find other areas of interest and be well-rounded. Though injury is never easy, it is more doable when you can take your mind off it and pursue other things. If running were my everything, I would have easily sunk into a depressive state and isolated myself from the world. Develop a few hobbies or interests so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket. I’m thankful I was able to focus on my writing through my recovery. It was a nice outlet for me that I could use to heal.

Find joy in the journey

And, lastly, we need to find joy in our journey. Life is never going to be easy. There will be ups and downs, highs and lows But, if we have joy, we can much better deal with the tests life brings our way. Happiness is temporary, but joy is everlasting. We can have joy in all circumstances. Happiness is external, but joy flows from out of our hearts. Joy doesn’t mean we don’t get frustrated or have bad days, but joy gives us hope for tomorrow and throughout our injury.

RELATED: Find Joy in the Journey

FINAL STRETCH

We aren’t guaranteed that our passions won’t be taken away, but we can find joy no matter what. Don’t let your passions become an idol in your life. Don’t take them for granted. Develop other areas of interest, and find joy in the journey. It doesn’t cure the injury, but it does create a positive environment during recovery.

Through my recovery, I was able to finish my first book. Writing is one of the things I turned to when I couldn’t run. “Mind Over Marathon: Overcoming Mental Barriers in the Race of Life” is on pre-sale now! It is about discovering your dreams and taking them from inception to a flourishing finish. If you’re looking to ignite passion and purpose in your life, clarify your unique game plan, and build confidence in who you are, this book will take you there!

And, remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!

I’d love to hear from you! Can you turn your small dreams into stepping stones to a larger one? Leave a comment below and let me know.

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4 Comments
  1. This is such an important issue – to find more than one passion or intrest in life. Because you are so right! We don’t know if we will be able to keep it!

    1. Yes, absolutely! I’m just so thankful for all that I have and all that I’m becoming. It’s a lesson I may not have learned had I not gone through the injury.

  2. Sounds like you’ve learnt a useful lesson in the process, great that you’ve managed to find some new interests without giving up on your passion long term.

    1. I have definitely learned so much through this process of recovery. I would say I would love if it didn’t have to happen, but I am thankful for the journey. Our circumstances can help refine us, and if we push through hard things, we become better.

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