Both Hills And Valleys: Live in the Present

Live in the Present – Carpe Diem!

Living in the Present
Every time I step outside to run or walk, it happens. The responsibilities and obligations that I wear like so many layers of winter clothes begin to peel away. And I’m brought closer and closer to the present with every mile.

“November 1st?! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than a month away.” As I turn the music on and close the door behind me, it leaves me, one arm at a time, like a heavy wool coat.

“I have to help Ashleigh with her history project. It’s due Friday.” Turning on my running app and logging onto Charity Miles, it, too, is tossed aside like a scarf unwound three times from around my neck.

“Philip’s math homework is due tomorrow.” The day to day demands fall away more easily and gone are the leather gloves, pulled from each finger then discarded.

The same is true of the questions and regrets that can sometimes hold me to the past. What I didn’t do or should have done. Disappointments about how much better I could have been at this or that. The energy wasted on expectations for a future that turned out to be different than I imagined. Even without judgement of better or worse, different still nags at me when I give it room for comparison.

As I walk toward the lake it all washes away. The small pond where they hold the annual fishing derby, the gazebo where they hang lights that look like winter snowflakes to substitute for actual snow, and the trees that have grown up in step with my own two children, all replace the view from my head. My breath mimics the fall breeze and my heart acknowledges the changing leaves. Gratitude for healthy knees and strong legs refuse to live together with thoughts of pounds to lose and pants sizes. It is a blessing to be able to see this beauty all around me and to walk at all.

By the time I reach the lake, nature takes hold. Surrounded by birds taking flight, squirrels going about their business and the turtles perched along the banks, I’m reminded how worry wastes the precious time we’re given. Animals are the epitome of action and consistent action is the best path away from worry. None of them are fretting about the coming winter, they prepare for it each and every day. For the same reason, these miles matter and dutifully they carry me toward my goals.

When I return home, my husband and children reap the benefits. Philip runs up to me, his favorite board game in hand.

Thanksgiving will be here before I know it. We’ll somehow finish Ashleigh’s project by Friday and work on Philip’s math homework a little later.

But right now, in the present moment. We play Sorry! for the World Championships.

No worries.


ABOUT: Michelle Roberts lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her husband, Paul, and two children, Ashleigh (10) and Philip (8). She ran her first 5k in October of 2012 and her first half marathon in February of 2013. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2001 and maintains a healthy balance without the use of medication thanks to a job she loves, a supportive family, regular exercise, her writing and therapy. A wonderful life of “Both Hills and Valleys”.

“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.”
Helen Keller



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