We made it to the end of the week! I wanted to use this post to discuss a bit about how I have used loss, personally and professionally, as a motivating factor in my life. To those who are struggling with similar situations, and even to those who aren’t, I hope my experiences can help in some way.
I can remember the day I found my Grandfather dead in his back yard. As clear as day, three months later, I can remember when my Mom told me my brother had died of an apparent drug overdose. I still feel the intense pain and anxiety I felt when I was told my dreams of becoming a physician were over. All of these formative experiences happened within less than one year of one another. And my family was no stranger to loss. I felt as though I had lost a brother years before that to addiction.
Clearer than all of these experiences, though, is the time I was lying under a blanket feeling like I wanted to close my eyes and never wake up. I tried to envision my life without medicine and I kept drawing up a blank. I rolled on to my stomach and screamed into my pillow. I was lost.
I realized that complaining and whining about what was happening didn’t SOLVE anything and what I needed was a solution. Even now, on Facebook and in school, I see and hear people complaining and others perpetuating their sadness and moans by feeding into it. In my family, we don’t play into pity parties. We kind of just… handle it. It isn’t that we don’t let one another grieve but we don’t let one another sink and complain about it as we go down. As I sat there in the same clothes I had been wearing for 3 days, surrounded by half-eaten chips and a tear-stained pillow, I grew angry. Angry at myself, angry at my brother for leaving me behind, angry at my medical school administration for making a choice for me, and angry at life. I knew I had to do something.
It might sound like Forrest Gump, but I laced up my running shoes and started running. I was averaging about 9 miles a day. I used it as a form of therapy. I cried on my runs sometimes thinking about what I had lost. I found routes with hills when I felt angry and wanted to sprint up them. I signed up for a half marathon and consistently was training and racing. Running gave me purpose in a time when I wasn’t sure what mine was.
Since then, I have managed to bounce back into a career I enjoy and had the courage to start this blog in hopes to start another great adventure. I met and married the man of my dreams and started our little family with my first puppy. I married into a loving family and while my husband’s sister will never replace the brother I knew and loved, it feels good knowing that I have a sibling in my life. Is life perfect? No. But I certainly have come a long way. Most importantly I have become more clear on the things that are important in life. Family, happiness, love, care. I don’t sweat the small stuff nearly as much and I cherish the time with my friends more than ever before.
And fitness was with me throughout the whole thing. I turned to running, then yoga, and now I am trying to get stronger and be the best version of myself. Fitness was there for me through loss and loss helped motivate me to get back on my feet and bounce back better than before. It wasn’t easy using loss to help motivate me but I refused to let sadness become who I was.
I guess what I am trying to say is that we all experience loss at some point or another and we all cope in different ways. For me, I found solace in fitness and I found clarity by using loss as a motivating factor. I had to make the conscious decision not to let my losses define me and I hope that you can too.
Question of the day:
- Have you experienced loss? How have you managed to deal with it?