“Back to Boston.”

“She survived. She grew. She fell. She picked herself up. She learned. She became. She broke. She mended herself. She gave. She tried real hard. She hurt. She healed herself. Yes, she did it all. And she was everything she ever needed. But she only realised that later in the game. It was a magical find nonetheless.”

S.C. Lourie

We boarded a morning flight back to Boston this morning, my husband and I. At the time of booking, we had no idea that, by now, I’d be starting to run again. We were still operating under the assumptions of the original plan – which estimated me to not be lacing up my Asics until Christmas. The Universe has a knack for perfect timing though, and what better way for us to celebrate my return to running than by visiting this most iconic piece of pavement?

Boston Marathon Finish Line, 11/30/2022

It’s been nearly 14 months since I ran my last marathon, crossing this very finish line… and I still can’t believe that I was able to do it. I had four unhealed fractures in my spine and the shattered pieces of my left arm/wrist were being held together by a metal plate with screws, stabilized by an external cast. Looking back now, I shake my head at my own insanity yet, somehow still, take great pride in my level of determination and the strength of my own will to show up and go the distance that day.

I was physically broken, but mentally strong. And if running 26.2 miles on undertrained legs, with multiple fractures, out of pure, simple joy and the greatest love of the run is not a testament to the power of the human spirit, then I have no idea what is!

My experiences these past two years have made me realize just how temporary our physical fitness really is. It’s fleeting – unable to be maintained without constant progress and consistent upkeep; which, while admirable, is not always sustainable throughout the entire lifetime of an athlete – especially at the “Boston Qualifying” level. Hence, the reason why most athletes peak and, when it’s time, decide to retire. The GOAT really isn’t actually the “Greatest Of All Time”, they’re really just the greatest AT THAT TIME.

It’s taken me quite some time to realize it but, in the grand scheme of things, my own journey was never actually about achieving an athletic level capable of running a Boston qualifying time – it was about achieving confidence. It was about learning to believe in myself and realizing that I have the ability to overcome absolutely anything – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Most of all, it was about learning to see myself as worthy, without the need for external validation. This is not something that anybody or any thing can ever give you – no matter how famous, exclusive, or elite they may be. This is a lesson that only you can learn, on your own terms and in your own time.

Even today, I am still a little bit high from my first run in P.T. yesterday… yet I am humbled, nonetheless. A 1.77 mile treadmill interval run is a far cry from a 26.2 mile endurance race. I still have a long way to go before I am ready and able to run another marathon and I know, all too well, the work that lies ahead. But, sometimes, it helps to take the time to look back and realize all that I am truly capable of.


“The Girl Who Fell From The Sky.”

“If we only knew then what we know now. That love conquers everything. That faith can move mountains. That good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. That loud doesn’t mean strong and quiet doesn’t mean weak. That closed hearts are often hurt hearts that have yet to unfold. That silence can be both beautiful and terrifying. That healing takes time and time moves both quickly and unbearably slowly. That one step in any direction can change the course of your life forever. That bliss is sometimes just loving what you already have rather than wanting what you wish you had. That you will have days where you feel on top of the world and days where you feel like you have hit rock bottom. And that rising from the ashes requires going through the flames. And that falling was part of it all.


I took my very first running steps in P.T. today, and I couldn’t be more excited! It wasn’t far. It wasn’t fast. And we didn’t continue the process for very long. But I was running, pain free, for the first time in almost two years, and I can’t even begin to explain what that means to me! Running has literally become part of me throughout the years and my life just hasn’t been the same since I had to stop doing it.

I’ve always been active, even as a child – especially as a child. “Accident prone”, my mom used to call me. The daily occurrence of scraped knees and bright colored bruises were not just marks upon my body, but indicators of all the adventures that I’d had. By the time I’d reached the 4th grade, we were already keeping a running count of how many stitches I’d had – and I’d already accumulated a double digit tally!

I remember one particular summer day, climbing out my bedroom window and onto our front porch roof with a bed sheet wrapped around my neck like a cape. I remember standing at the edge of the roof, looking down to the sidewalk and the grass below, honestly contemplating the 15’ jump. As I held the bottom corners of that bed sheet in my hands, I honestly believed that the air would inflate my sheet like a parachute and I would be able to fly, or at least float, gently to the ground below. I don’t remember exactly what stopped me. Was it fear of the fall – which I knew would be painful? Or fear of the failure – which I knew would make my mom sad and my dad mad? Perhaps some form of common sense and reality of my own mortality actually struck me in that moment before I took that leap? I honestly don’t remember… I guess it only makes sense that jumping out of an airplane and crashing to the ground is the one life event that would force me to finally grow up and start looking at things a little bit differently.

Spring 2021

I still remember that day so clearly. I still feel it in my bones – the exact moment when my body hit the ground. I found myself face down in that field, just trying to breathe. Sounds were deafening and my vision was fading. I sat there for a moment, trying hard not to believe what had just happened. I was waiting for the pain to lessen, to loosen its grip on me, as I found a way to stand.

Perhaps a wiser woman would have laid her body down? Remained still upon that ground? Waited for the ambulance or medical helicopter to arrive? But, in my experience as a Paramedic, waiting for help to arrive is often just a waste of time – and counting on someone to come and save me might be the answer that most people would choose, but it has never been mine.

They say that hindsight is always 20/20 and, looking back now, I can honestly admit that lying down in that field, waiting for help to arrive would, in fact, have been the best thing that I could have done. It would have saved me a lot of time, pain, aggravation, and further deterioration… but none of that matters now. What’s done is done. What matters most is that I’m here, I’m recovering, and it is now (finally!) time to lace back up!

I’ve spent the last 18 months of my life doing absolutely everything I can in order to heal my body. I am doing everything I can to rebuild my strength. I have no wise words for my future self at this point. I have no ripened reflection to share regarding my past. I have only this feeling of overwhelming, pure and unadulterated joy regarding this monumental milestone that I was finally able to cross over today. I have been telling myself to be patient, busying myself with everything else that needed to done in order to prepare. I have been waiting for this exact moment for what feels like a lifetime, greatly anticipating this very day, when “the girl who fell from the sky” can finally begin to run again!


“A Gradual Awakening.”

“When you accept hell, it’s not hell any more. Hell is resistance. Suffering is resistance to what is: non-acceptance. When you can accept discomfort, doing so allows a balance of mind. That surrender, that letting go of wanting anything to be other than it is right in the moment, is what frees us from hell.”

Stephen Levine, “A Gradual Awakening”

Very few people have any idea of just how strong they are until they are forced to be. The vast majority of us don’t realize how much strength and resilience is hiding, dormant, inside of us, surfacing only on occasion for passing moments of stress or tension, until something big arises that wakes it up and makes it as familiar to us as the back of our own hand. Our strength is as much a part of us as our humor or intelligence; as integral to our makeup as our values and beliefs, whether we’ve grown to know it and accept it yet or not.

One of the many side effects of a near-death experience is that your ability to filter the things that really matter from the ones that don’t increases drastically. Things that used to be hazy shades of grey become stark black and whites. Situations that seemed all-encompassing suddenly hold much less weight. There’s an unspoken superpower in “the worst” of your particular situation having already happened – it enables you to see more clearly. But, when you’re going through one of life’s more difficult chapters, there’s never a clear-cut moment when you finally turn the page and begin writing whatever comes next. Coming out the other side feels a lot like watching the sunrise. You can stare at the sky, unblinking, and see the colours change and light bloom right before your eyes, yet there is never a single, exact moment when you can point at it and say, “Look, now it is day.”

I feel like we get caught up in thinking that our “real” life is always just about to begin, that our next chapter, the one where “things get good”, is always just around the corner. When we’re in an in-between phase, it can feel like we’re constantly waiting for reality to start. The thing is, life doesn’t actually begin once everything is aligned perfectly in the precise way in which we’ve always envisioned it – it’s happening right now.

I’ve had my own fair share of dissociation from day to day these past few months. Times when I have moved from mobility exercises to treatment tables without ever engaging in eye contact, conversation, or any amount of connection with anyone other than my assigned technician for that day. Moments when I’ve become so frustrated by all the things I can not do, that I have refused to appreciate all the things I can. Days when, in between spine treatments and P.T., I’ve zoned out on the couch, with ice packs on my back, “NetFlix & Chilling” the hours away. Hours that, in reality, I could have spent walking or hiking, stretching or practicing yoga – embracing the movements and activities that I can do, rather than mourning the absence of running all the miles. If this is where you find yourself now, amidst the hazy unfolding of your own life’s course, I want you to know that it’s okay.

It’s okay to not be over something you thought you should be over by now. It’s okay to be angry at the things that hurt you. They hurt because they changed you, and you’re allowed to grieve that change. You’re allowed to miss who you were before it all occurred. You’re allowed to move forward but still wish it didn’t happen. And, when you’re ready, it’s okay to also move on – to step forward in whatever way you possibly can.

Don’t let the storm limit what you can see. Light is bound to appear again. These heavy feelings are but a short note in the history of your life. It’s easy to forget the depth of your power when everything feels tough – but tough moments are common just before a breakthrough or great victory. Lean on the fact that you are more than a survivor. You are more than your past. You are more than what hurts – you are everything that’s healed. You are a hero that is ready to emerge. Your transformation will inspire others to do the hard things that they need to do. So, even if this moment is a struggle, keep moving forward.

Don’t let fear stop you from listening to your inner calling. Don’t let an unclear path discourage you from taking those first few steps into the unknown. The greatest YOU arises when you gently start embracing the space beyond your comfort zone. You don’t need to have all of the answers right now to eventually be successful. You just need to be willing to take the very next step. Embrace the challenge, one step at a time. Remember how strong you are and how much you’ve already overcome. You don’t need to move fast – even moving slowly can get you where you want to go.

The time in between where you are now and where you want to be isn’t just a filler chapter, it’s your real story. It’s your life. Don’t push your current happiness aside in pursuit of a future one. Don’t live your life waiting for a feeling that will never truly fulfill you or complete you. Don’t let yourself spend your days constantly climbing and searching, only to get to the top of your mountain, look around apathetically and ask, “Now what?”

If this injurious journey has taught me one single thing, it’s that your joy in life is mainly based on one thing, and that’s perspective.

There’s a big difference between whether I see my skydiving accident as something I’m lucky to have survived or something that is unlucky for having happened in the first place. Whether I’m thankful that I landed on grass or resent not landing on my feet. Whether I am grateful for being able to walk or am angry that I can not yet begin to run.

In all honesty, I don’t really know the exact moment when my darkness began to morph into light, or if I’m even fully there yet? It really doesn’t matter. I don’t need some magical, pivotal moment to tell me that I’ve arrived, to nudge me forward or tell me to move on and begin the rest of my life, because I’ve already begun living it. I feel like a completely different person to the girl I was back then – even before the flying became falling and the pretty landscape became a painful landing pad.

Instead of looking back and wishing things were different, instead of looking forward and hoping for things to change, I’m doing my best to simply look around. I ask myself, “What magic is hiding in the corners of this world that I simply can not see right now? Where do I need to squint a little harder and focus a little more energy? What beauty is right in front of me, in this exact moment of my life, as this exact version of myself?” …because what we find here is what can fill us up. It isn’t something we might one day have – it’s everything we already have. It’s being right here, right now, embracing every step of the process, and knowing that I am exactly where I need to be.


“Every New Beginning…”

“It’s the friends who help you realign with your original mission and values that make a substantial difference in your life. Sometimes it just takes one conversation with someone who is radically authentic to reignite your inner fire and help you get back on the right path.”

Yung Pueblo
11/18/2022 – with my trainer, Nick.
17 months after the fall, we begin to climb again.

It occurred to me this morning, as I was leaving my 50th and (hopefully) final treatment at The Disc Institute of Pittsburgh, that the majority of big moments in our lives are rarely the ones marked with big, beautiful celebrations.

There is no finisher’s medal or champagne toast. There’s no celebratory dinner, confetti rain, or cake all lit with candles.

We might take a photo or post something on social media but, ultimately, we move quietly along, right on into whatever is next.

Don’t get me wrong, my Neurosurgeon was the first to congratulate me on a successful spinal surgery. I get several high fives and encouraging words from my physical therapist every week. My Chiropractors are some of my biggest supporters, and do everything they can to help me on a daily basis. My final treatment at The Disc Institute this morning was fun and filled with big smiles, happy dances, and lots of hugs. And my husband… oh man, my husband! He has been with me absolutely every step of the way – through every good, bad, and utterly ugly moment.

I am so very lucky and incredibly grateful to have so many pure hearted people helping me and hoping for me, every step of the way. But, as I drove away from my appointment this morning, I couldn’t help but think that the majority of life’s celebrations focus solely on the joy that comes from a particular event – but what about the other personal journeys we are bound to go on that can’t be defined in such a cookie-cutter way? What about the things we experience that feel as large and impactful as stepping through the doors of your favorite gym for the very first time in months (or even years) of being injured, unable to perform the exercises written in chalk upon the wall, but still knowing that you are about to embark on the next chapter of your very own comeback story? What about the mammoth sized and often invisible journeys that feel way more pivotal and important than any other socially acknowledged achievement we’ve ever had?

I read a quote once that said, “Life is so subtle sometimes, that you barely notice yourself walking through the doors you once prayed would open.” At the time, I couldn’t imagine that ever being true. I couldn’t imagine not noticing when you were ready to advance to the “next level” or you’d finally gotten the things you’d hoped for and dreamed of. I thought it meant a lack of gratitude or an inability to pay attention to magic – but that’s not true at all.

What nobody really tells you about the recovery process is that it’s a full-time job. Sometimes months go by and you don’t notice anything changing. Nothing major happens and your days follow such a similar routine, that you begin to assume you’re in the same condition you’ve always been, this entire time. Often it’s only once you look back with hindsight, or you’re finally able to take the next big step forward, that you can see all the subtle variations that have added up over time – and you realize you’re actually in a completely different place than where you used to be.

I understand it now because it has happened to me, quite a few times, in the past several months. And, today, it happened again as I left my final spinal treatment and drove to my friend, Nick’s, gym.

I walked through those doors, I laced up my shoes and, an hour later, out there on that gym floor, I finally saw it – the light at the end of my tunnel. In this very moment, I knew with all my heart that I am, once again, in very good hands. I am getting a little bit better every day. I am going to be okay. And, while I am finally beginning to know my own strength, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without all of YOU!


“Where Do We Go From Here?”

50 treatments completed at The Disc Institute of Pittsburgh, September – November 2022.

“Some things will always be completely out of our hands. It is one of the most helpless and hopeless feelings to experience. To know that we cannot make it better. We cannot change it, control it, or wave our magic wand and make it go away. It just isn’t within our grasp, nor was it meant to be. But, yet, we try, don’t we? To make ourselves god. To hang the stars and orchestrate their shimmer. Because the unknown is such a wretched place. But here, where we cannot touch the things that glide in and out of our existence, is where we must learn to find peace. Precisely here. In the midst of the timing we did not ask for. In the circumstances we did not approve of. And in the storm that, even with all our strength, we could not bring ourselves to silence.”


Life is full of chapters. Pages turn, new stories are written and, in my experience, each one tends to get better than the last. Honestly… I’m not sure if that’s actually the case, or if I just have a way of making the best of everything? I tend to look for the silver lining – some glimmer of hope and personal growth. Because it sure beats the alternative!

I’m currently entering the “next phase” of my spinal recovery plan, and it’s a little bit unnerving. My Doctors keep assuring me that everything is going according to plan – in many ways, even better than expected. They encourage me to be patient. They say I’m “almost there”. I guess I just thought I’d be further along by now? I thought I’d be running again.

On August 3rd, 2022 – just one day after my spinal surgery, I did a thing. I was so relieved, that the surgery was being called a “success”, despite my grossly underestimating the amount of pain I’d be in. I was high on life (and post-op pain killers) imagining the days when I’d be up and running again without any pain, and without any risk of further deteriorating my spine. I signed up for a race – actually, I signed up for two. And when I awoke the next morning, still groggy from the Percocet, I could hardly believe what I’d just done. The road stretched out before me was still so uncertain… and now I’d made it daunting.

Fast forward 3 & 1/2 months later, and now I see – my past self wasn’t just reminding me to embrace my future body’s ability to run, she was telling me to embrace it all. She’d been struggling with steadily increasing pain from her injuries and grief from losing a few people, places, activities, and basic physical abilities along the way. She’d been doing everything she could to avoid the overwhelming sadness she had over losing the one thing that had always enabled her to cope with it all. Something she never truly realized was all that special until it was gone, and she was begging me, the future me, to never make that same mistake again. She was urging me to love things purely because I love them – not just because they’d been taken away.

Registering for those races while inebriated was one of the purest intentions I have ever set for myself. A stark reminder of something we all know to be true but that we can (far too easily) choose to ignore: our time in these bodies and on this earth is finite. And our lives are often filled with blessings so plentiful that we forget to even notice them.

If you have the option and desire to do something, you must do it while you can. We tend to think we have all the time in the world, but we don’t. Opportunities don’t hang around forever and you never know when the day will come that they’ll pass you by for good and leave you thinking, “Damn, I should have done that while I had the chance.”

Some of the time we know our own luck, and gratitude floods through our veins as we make the most of it – but far too often we don’t even know what we have until we don’t have it anymore. What shame that is.

You don’t have to lose something in order for it to be important to you. You don’t have to have gone through something or without something in order to feel fortunate to have it.

Sometimes I get a little nervous when reminding people of this simple truth. I know it can feel aggressive to receive such a sharp reminder in the middle of a Tuesday, and it’s never nice to be called out for taking something special for granted – especially by a stranger who knows nothing about your life, situation, or level of thankfulness.

So from my past and present self, let me just say this to my future self – and you, if you so choose to listen:

Whatever it is that lingers there in the back of your mind, that thing you think about right before you fall asleep, the one that lights you up inside. Whatever it is you keep putting off for another day because you can’t be bothered with it right now. If you are capable of doing it, and you want to do it, then you need to do it – before it’s too late, before you get the chance to wonder what if?… before the parachute of your life collapses. Do it now. Because you can.

Even after all this time, I am still meeting people enamored by my story. I’ve actually grown tired of telling it because I think “what happened” to us is the least interesting thing about us. It’s what you do after that matters the most. When you’ve hit the ground hard, yet find the strength to stand back up. This is where I start to pay the most attention. This is where the story gets good. This is where we’re forced to not only ask ourselves but, also, to answer: “Where do we go from here?”


“The Butterfly Effect.”

“It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.”

The Butterfly Effect, Chaos Theory

No matter how much life has changed or how good things continue to get, the word “should” has a tendency to circle, round and round, in my mind.

I should be able to do this.

I should be able to do that.

This should be easier.

It should have been this way, not that.

It’s so easy to get caught up in thinking that things could have or should have gone differently. The idea that if things had played out in a slightly different manner – if that one tiny thing hadn’t gone wrong, if just one single second could be altered, then everything would be better than it is right now.

Mentally, I time travel to an alternate world, one where my life looks exactly as it does now, but my body is completely healed.

I imagine how much more fun I would have if I could jump and dance. How much more spontaneous I would be if I wasn’t hyper aware of my injuries and the limitations they’ve placed on my movements. How much simpler life would be right now if I could just go for a run. I’ve found myself subconsciously caught in this trap so many times over the past two years, conveniently forgetting that it’s impossible for that world to even exist.

On the flip side, you can’t take a single thing from your life without also taking away all of the subsequent good that has come from it. In science they call it “the butterfly effect”. My life, which I love and embrace and cherish beyond words, would look nothing like it does right now if it wasn’t for all of the crossroads where decisions had to be made – even the moments I wish that I could change. Perhaps instead of wishing those moments away, I should wholeheartedly thank them for helping me to create an entirely different reality – for having the courage to love, trust, and begin all over again, as well as, discover an entire community of people that I might have, otherwise, never had the opportunity to meet.

The truth of it all is actually quite simple and, somedays, I can see it as clearly as the bright sun shining in the bluest of skies above me – everything did happen and it is exact like this. Perhaps, in some ways, it really “shouldn’t” be. Perhaps mistakes were made. Perhaps things would have been easier or better another way – but this is how it is, and that’s really all there is to it. Five years into some of the greatest life changes that I have ever known, I realize this with a newfound clarity. I realize that accepting things for how they are instead of fantasizing about how they could have been is one of the most valuable, brave and transformative things we can ever do.

It feels very full-circle, and that enables me to viscerally feel the contrast between who I was all those years ago and who I am now. It makes me realize that, although my body might not be what it once was, I, myself, am far, far more.


“Regarding Pain.”

I personally don’t believe that we need to take a lesson from every difficult life experience, or that we have to turn each patch of dirt we come across into gold. I think sometimes we should be allowed to just see hard things for what they are, which is hard, and look back on them however we need to. In saying that, the past two years have taught me a very valuable lesson about the immeasurable importance of pain.

Regardless of what form it shows up in, pain serves the purpose of warning us when something is wrong. So why do we so often choose to ignore it?Despite how deeply pain can hurt and how much we might try to ignore it when it’s there, how we try to wish it away, or attempt to medicate it into oblivion, it’s actually quite often one of the kindest gifts our body can give us. Its sole purpose is to protect us and keep us safe from harm.

Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever truly grasped this concept or appreciated its value more than in these past few weeks. As I’ve progressed through my disc regeneration treatments and onwards in P.T., moving from basic mobility exercises into strength and stability exercises, I’m realizing that “pain” is not actually something that is meant to be pushed through. If pain arises, there’s a reason for it. It’s a warning sign, an indicator, nudging us to pay attention to something – we just have to learn to listen for the signals and have the common sense to acknowledge them.

I’m finally learning to think of pain as my body’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m sorry I had to get your attention this way, but I love you and I just want to let you know that something isn’t right. Can you please take care of us before this gets any worse?

Sometimes we listen to our physical pain so well. If something feels too hot to touch, we pull our hand away. If we feel a sudden jolt of pain while exercising, we stop. If music is so loud that it hurts our ears, we turn it down. Other times, and in my own experience, we choose to ignore it and power through – as if this makes us stronger, or more dedicated to our chosen activity or sport when, in reality, it’s just plain stupid.

Pain can be uncomfortable, unbearable and sometimes even downright unforgiving – but I think it’s important to remember that it’s an innate gift of the human body and it’s a privilege to be able feel it. If the past two years of my life have taught me anything, it is to listen to the pain when it comes – to pull my hand off the hot plate, to turn down the music, to STOP “pushing through”, and to save myself the further setback of yet another injury.


“Treatment #45.”

“I’m sorry if this sounds harsh, but no one, including time, owes anything to you. Your life is a series of habits that are formed from choices you make and then continue to make every single day. If you want healing, then you have got to figure out a way to face what hurt you. If you want growth, you need to put in the work. If you want a healthier relationship, you better start learning how to communicate what you need. We all think we’re products of what happens to us. That we’re handed the lives we have and expected to keep them. We’re not. What happens to us is simply a starting point. So your choice, the one you re-make every single day, is to let what happened to you hold you back or to use what happened for you to propel you forward.”

Emma Grace

It occurred to me yesterday, as I was talking with a few other patients at my disc regeneration treatment, that we often look at people who have overcome adversity and assume that from day one they chose to fight. We put them on a pedestal made up of unattainable levels of strength and resilience, and assume they possess something that we don’t. I’ve found that’s not actually true at all. For every person we look up to, there was a time before things were good, before there was anything to be inspired by, before there was a story worth telling – there was a time when things were just plain shit. Before every pain that transformed itself into a lesson, there was, first and foremost, only pain.

From the exact moment when I hit the ground on that sunny Saturday in June and felt the pain ricochet through my body, I had known that this was going to be major – but I never thought it might be permanent. The brutality of this truth has been too much to comprehend. I had been clinging to some glimmer of hope that this was temporary – just a glitch in my summer, but not in my LIFE. I’d completely underestimated the severity of the situation, and I couldn’t imagine ever accepting it.

Sometimes life throws us challenges we never saw coming. There are moments when we are brought to our knees with the insufferable prospect of having to carry on in a new reality, one we always knew was possible, but never what we intended for or ever even thought would occur. Regardless of how unpredictable these moments are, one thing is for certain: we are capable of adapting to them. We might think we can’t live with or without something, but we can. We might think that something is impossible to overcome or that we will never come to terms with it, but we will. And we might think something will break us but, time and time again, we discover that it won’t.

It’s kind of a hard concept to explain, but I’m going to try anyway.

It’s comforting to believe that we can assess a risk and act accordingly rather than acknowledge the reality that we can never truly prepare for or avoid the moments that will ultimately shape us. The fears that keep us up at night are very rarely the things that ever actually occur; our real problems are more likely to be the ones we could never, in all our wildest fretting, have dreamt up – ones that shock the air out of your lungs on an unsuspecting Thursday when you’re finishing up at work, texting your husband to get dinner started because you’ve bought a pair of tickets and made plans for the two of you this evening. That bittersweet moment when everything was going just right – but then, suddenly, it all just goes so terribly wrong.

Over the course of the past year and a half, I could feel myself moving tangibly through the denial stage of my injuries and grief and into whatever came next. Suddenly, without any effort on my part, I understood with newfound clarity that what happened, really just happened. There was no rhyme or reason to it. There was no explaining it or wishing it away. It simply happened and it couldn’t be undone. Instead of this information feeling jarring, it felt freeing. The accident was something I didn’t ask for or intend, but it was also something I could never reverse. If there was nothing I could do about it, there really wasn’t much use in spending all of my energy praying for the clock to spin backwards. It was time to move forward.

There’s an inexplicable freedom at rock bottom that you can’t possibly imagine while you’re on your way down. As you’re falling, you’re scrambling to grab on to any remnant of the world you used to know, becoming more and more frantic as it moves further and further out of your reach. Perhaps one of life’s greatest ironies is that it’s only once you’ve hit the ground that you can embrace the solidity of where you land. I imagine we would all be a whole lot more accepting of change if we knew this to be true.

Sometimes life leads you down a road you don’t want to go. It might be dark, it might be uncomfortable, it might be painful – and none of that can be taken away. But, if you’re really lucky, there might be something else down that road too. There might be something that doesn’t take away the hurt, but makes you feel okay for having endured it. There might be something or someone you stumble upon that makes you look back at the formidable road, stare at it in all its unspeakable glory, take a deep breath in and whisper, “You were so worth travelling down!”

I’m not saying that I think we need to find a deeper meaning in every difficult thing that we go through. I’m well aware that sometimes things are just hard without reason or merit. But I have to admit that, sometimes, it’s nice to find some kind of meaning behind it all. Sometimes it helps to heal a part of yourself that you didn’t even realize was still hurting. Sometimes it’s liberating to find purpose in the painful parts of your story so that you can see them through gratitude-tinted lenses. Sometimes it’s nice to look back and say, “Yeah, that really sucked – but look at where it got me!”


“What Do You Want?”

“She always wants more – not in things, but experiences. She was made to learn and grow and that is where many miss her completely. Once she is in their life, they want her to remain the same and, for her, that just isn’t possible.”

Jm Storm

I was standing in line at the grocery store a few days ago, and a little kid was doing his best to embarrass the living sh*t out of his parents.

It was the mother of all temper tantrums. He cried. He yelled. He screamed. He scratched his mother’s arm. He slapped his father’s face. He threw the cookie his mother gave him to the floor and stomped on it, as myself and a few other shoppers standing in line, either looked on or looked away. There were a few rolling eyes from some and I-feel-so-sorry-for-you looks from others.

As this continued, for what seemed like eternity, the parents literally put their hands together and begged him to tell them what he wanted.

“What do you want?”, they asked, as eyes continued to roll and silent judgement seemed to spew from every corner of the store.

There is no happy ending to this story… unless you count the fact that I exited the store a few moments later, took in a deep breath, letting the coolness of the air outside fill my lungs as I walked to my car – practically weightless with the knowledge that the responsibility for raising that child does not belong to me.

As I drove myself home, the question the parents had asked their child repeatedly played inside my head: “What do you want? What do you want? WHAT DO YOU WANT?”

I think this is a very valid question that we should all be asking of ourselves. And I found myself a bit surprised by my answer. Because, apart from my classic, but generally very broad, response of “Health, wealth and happiness”, and a few cliches, like “Ten million dollars” and “The ability to travel whenever I want and see the world” or “To run all the miles and never get tired”, I genuinely wasn’t sure exactly what it is that I want.

Despite the past 44 years of my life being lived upon this Earth, the experiences that I’ve had, and the knowledge that I’ve gained – I was no less clueless than that child in the grocery store who had no idea what he wanted. And that’s when it struck me. That kid had no idea what he wanted… but he knew exactly what he did not want – all the things his parents were offering him. I immediately circled back to myself and asked: “What, exactly, do you NOT want?”… the answers came rolling.

I no longer want to waste time with people who don’t really want to spend their time with me. I no longer want to be friends with those who don’t deserve me, or those who don’t choose me. So I let them go, and I choose to move on.

I no longer want to brood over something that cannot be fixed – from lost relationships, to lost love. From unspoken words, to unforgiven actions, or even my undying love of the long run.

I no longer care about society’s definition of success. I no longer measure success with how big someone’s house is, how many cars they might own, or the vacations that they take. I measure it by how happy they are… by how happy I am.

I don’t ever want to be weighed down by the materialistic things of this world or the monetary debts that accompany them. These are the chosen burdens which force a person into the same old – same old, day in and day out, daily grind of life that slowly but surely suffocates the soul.

I no longer want to waste my time, working any job that I hate. I’m lucky to have found myself a job that resonates with me, where I can be myself, alongside people that I love, and actually enjoy the work that we do.

I no longer want to feel bad about doing everything that I want, and nothing that don’t – sitting “here”, but wishing I was “there”. Reclaiming my Life’s time before it runs out is one of the most empowering things that I have ever done!

I no longer want to explain myself to anyone about anything – why I behave a certain way, the things I do or say and, more importantly, the things I don’t. The people who love me, know me and get me. That’s all the understanding that I need.

I no longer want to care what anyone thinks of me. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this yet – but it is, by far, the most transformative life lesson and liberating experience. I give zero f*cks what anyone thinks of me. I am who I am. Take it or leave it. A fraction of those I know take it – and they’ve become my family for life. But many others leave it, and that’s okay by me. The freedom that comes with not caring what others think of you allows you the freedom to live life exactly the way you want. I sincerely challenge you to get to that point.

All in all, I may never know, infinitely and without a doubt, exactly what it is that I want… but I finally know exactly what I don’t want. I don’t ever want forget who I really am!


“Just Because.”

“The purpose or meaning of life only comes into question when one isn’t living, which indirectly answers the question.”

– @FindTheOthers

The downfall of a personality like mine is that my mind is always looking for a pattern – the deeper meaning just below the surface, a never ending spiral of questions with no definitive answers… the constant pursuit of the ever elusive answer to WHY. And it occurred to me that so many others are just as committed to avoiding this topic – choosing to, instead, fill the gaps within themselves and their human existence with anything and everything that could possibly fill the void. I think it’s safe to say that fast-living has become the norm, that hustle culture has won, and that “being busy” has become our default mode of existence. I think it’s also safe to admit that levels of stress, anxiety and burnout are at an all-time high – and are not decreasing any time soon. Frankly, we’re spreading ourselves too thin.

Don’t get me wrong, speed can be fun (and sexy!) if we’re talking about the kind that happens while running out on the roads, or on a trail, at a sanctioned race – or in the privacy of our own homes, experienced between the sheets. But I implore you to notice just how often this becomes the default coping mechanism that keeps us all walled off from having to answer the bigger, more important, pressing questions in Life:

Is this really how I want to spend my time and live my life?

Am I happy living life this way?

Instead of feeling busy, can today feel purposeful?

What is the bigger vision that I’m working so hard towards?

Am I experiencing this one and only life that I have with integrity, with congruency?

Is what I think, feel, say, and do an accurate reflection of who I really am?

Answering these questions can be scary. Which is why so many people do anything and everything they can to avoid them. But what if it doesn’t have to be this way? What if we don’t have to experience progress only in speed? What if we opened up our eyes and realized that we don’t actually find fulfillment in acquiring more, producing more, being more, or having more? What if we could sustain a simple state of SUFFICIENCY while still remaining en route to our dreams?

I say this because I, myself, have learned (the hard way) that faster isn’t always better, more isn’t always greater, direction is more important than speed, and progress isn’t always visible… but it is always felt. These are not just words that sound nice but actual experiences to be felt within the body. And here in lies the conundrum:

Sometimes, instead of always asking why, it’s best to realize that it just is what is, just because… and the most powerful thing we can do for ourselves is to let it all be and just get back to living.