“Beauty is only skin deep.”
It’s a phrase used to remind us all that what is on the inside of a person is much more important than what is on the outside. That no matter how handsome or beautiful a person is, kindness and courage matter much more.
Health, on the other hand, is something that goes far beyond the skin into every atom of the body. Yes, a healthy body can often be identified visibly; however, it is not limited to one size or style. And it health is definitely not limited to what is happening on the outside.
For me, a healthy lifestyle has multiple components. Running is a huge part of it, and has been for over nine years. The finisher medals that hang on my way remind me of the miles I’ve survived and how much I have changed along the way. I am not the same person I was nine years ago. There are times I wonder about her, especially what she would think of me now. But I never want to go back to that person.
And that is why health is more than just running. It is also being part of a community of friends (family really) who care about me. I am blessed to have a few amazing women in my life that I know I could call any time of the day or night and they would come to help me, even if my great emergency was that life was a mess and only ice cream would help (been there, done that, I think I still have some sprinkles left). I have other friends who I get to see through work, through church, or through the coffee dates that are never often enough. And I have actual family members who offer me love and support, always and forever.
And health is more than them. For almost three years I’ve been seeing a counselor to help work through struggles with depression and issues with self-worth. And I take medication to help my brain, as my doctor puts it, “do what it’s supposed to do.” Having that professional and medical support lets me get stronger as a person and be the friend, the runner, the colleague, the nerd I was made to me.
And health is more than those things too. I believe every person was created unique and valued and loved. We were created with a purpose. The world makes that hard to remember. We have to be strong enough to hold onto that belief when it might feel ridiculous. And we have to work on being healthy, in all the ways, to keep moving forward toward every opportunity of purpose before us.
This is what strength looks like. This is what health looks like.
I’ve survived 13 marathons and one Ph.D. program. So…now what? I’ve learned through the journeys that it’s not about intelligence, speed, magic beans, or waiting for it to get easy. It’s about strength and perseverance. This year’s blog series will be about #WhatsNext after crossing some major finish lines, and preparing for new starting lines as a runner and a (not that kind of) doctor. I am #RunPhD.