Looking Forward and Looking Back

This post features run on sentences and haphazard punctuation and basically I think everyone should write like this once in a while. It is so freeing.

Every year, life throws new adventures at me, new ups and downs, new accomplishments and mistakes, new lessons to take with me through the following year. 2015 was no different. I was about to start off this post by saying that 2015 was a tough year, because it was. 2015 was maybe one of the toughest years I’ve ever had, especially recently. But then I started remembering all the good things that happened to me, and I thought I would start with some of those first to soften out the rough edges of my life this year.

2015 held so many little moments, pockets of joy that I hope to keep a better record of in this coming year. I remember waking up to pure white snow coating the world. I remember shivering in a tent in my yard and watching falling stars, patiently toasting marshmallows until they collapsed in a poof of sugar in my mouth, eating way too many of those marshmallows-11 one night!-because my dad forgot to tell me and my brother that we could only have six each.

I remember coming home from the beach with my hair still smelling of the sea and my skin tight from the salt and the rhythm of the waves still pounding through my body.I remember running, miles upon miles upon miles, during the summer. I don’t know how many miles I logged-300? 400?-but what I do know is how free I felt, going further and further down the same path each time and discovering new turns in the path, new trees, breathing the fresh air. I remember picking berries from vines and bushes and popping them in our mouths and not caring how many bugs had crawled over them because they tasted like sunshine.

I remember coming home from practice and sneaking to the library with my cousin and my brother. We would bike there fast, too fast. I could feel the wind warning me to slow down and the uneasy feeling my stomach got when I zoomed over bumps in the sidewalk, almost airborne, and how every corner felt dangerous, but I still rode fast. I remember finding cicada shells on trees and how we collected all of the ones we could see, even the ones high up in the trees. We shot them down with water guns and stood on wobbly chairs to get them and admire how there was once life in that shell, and here it was, recorded, every tiny detail. We left them on a table outside and they all blew away.

I remember books and books and books. I remember words, that I wrote and that I read and that I threw out and that I saved. I remember visiting my Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas-that was the best present I got-and spending hours just sitting and relaxing and not talking because one when you love someone so much, silence is enough. And I remember the laughs, too, with my family and friends and the feeling that everything would be okay.

But I also remember frustration. I remember tear stains dotting my homework because school felt like too much and I had so many things to do and everything was so hard and I was tired and all I wanted to do was go to sleep before midnight. I remember wishing I wasn’t so motivated because then maybe I wouldn’t care so much about getting B’s on things and I wouldn’t want to take the highest classes I could possibly take and then I wouldn’t be stressed. But I know my stubborn self will always hang onto that motivation. I remember falling asleep in less than five minutes on most nights because I was so exhausted.

I remember waking up to number filled papers scattered all over my desks and the panic that raced through me when I realized I had fallen asleep studying and I had to go to school in ten minutes. I remember my hands shaking as I took tests, trying to calm myself down so I could think clearly. I remember stalking grade averages nervously. I remember missing days of school because of different things and then being too afraid to ask for extensions even though other people around me asked for extensions with ease.I thought that would make me a lesser student somehow. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough when I was. I still think that sometimes. On the days I would relax, where I wasn’t tired at the end of the day, I remember tossing and turning for hours. I wasn’t tired enough to fall asleep right away so I had time to worry and worry and worry.

I remember waking up and feeling a twinge of pain in my back after practice and brushing it aside. I told myself that it was just another one of those aches and pains that you get everyday from practice. That’s what happens when you run 3-11 miles everyday, right? Right? And then how the pain got worse but I kept running because I had spent my whole summer training so hard and it wasn’t fair that now something hurt when meets were coming up.

I wanted to break 20 minutes in a 5k so badly and I didn’t want to stop and watch my chances to do that this year slip away. And then I remember when it all got too much and one practice I was wondering what was wrong with me because I could barely run and I was falling behind. And yet I still ran-hobbled, really-for an hour and a half that day. I stupidly wanted to push through the pain so I could prove to myself that if I tried hard enough, I could just ignore it. Things don’t work that way. After that there were doctors appointments and MRIs and then the slips of paper, telling me I couldn’t run for weeks. It felt like the doctor was crushing my dreams. I wanted to break 20.

But then I remembered my faith and I told myself that God did this for a reason. Nothing happened and yet still I kept telling myself that. And then, something appeared and I applied on a whim. It was a long shot and I sent my hurried application off way too close to the deadline and knew in my gut that nothing would come of it. But something did and somehow I made it to the next stage and then the next stage. And with each stage I got closer to believing that God had plans for me when my back got injured. And then the opportunity of a lifetime strode into my life. It came with so many things. Stress, feeling like an impostor, wondering why I was chosen. But it also came with hopes and dreams and learning and  encouragement and affirmation that I am headed down the right path.

I am stressed, afraid, nervous, about 2016. But I am also so excited for it. I know it will be a year for learning and growing. It will be a year for new aha moments. My life is going to change so much this year because of the opportunities that flooded into my life in 2015. It’s going to be filled with accomplishments and mistakes and everything in between, but I know that it will also be filled with happiness because I am going to make it that way.

Happy New Year, everyone! And please remember this in 2016:

Everything happens for a reason. When one door closes, another door opens. It may not feel like it, but it’s true. Hang in there.



25 thoughts on “Looking Forward and Looking Back

  1. This was so so beautifully written. But agh, I’m sorry about your injury. I’m no where near as serious a runner as you, but it absolutely ruins me if I have to skip because of injuries and things. I once had a piece of glass in my foot that I COULD NOT FIND but I still went for a walk/run because I really wanted to. (It was such a stupid idea, haha, but I DID get the glass out after that, relief.) And all your descriptions of the summer and running and lovely people…ajfdkslad you have such a talent with words. I hope 2016 is better!!


    1. Thank you, Cait. Yay, another runner! I totally get that feeling. Being injured made me feel so trapped because I couldn’t run and running is such a good stress reliever. You…had…a…piece…of…GLASS…stuck…in…your…foot…That sounds painful. Really painful. I don’t even know if I could handle that… Well, good luck with your running and hopefully that never happens again. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!


  2. Gorgeous post, Ana. I’m so sorry to hear about your injury, but I do think it happened for a reason. It lead you to such a lovely opportunity – and I hope that 2016 brings with it so much more light for you. Happy New Year. ❤


  3. Beautiful post, Ana! I love the quote at the end, it’s definitely something I’ll have to remember throughout this year.


  4. I’m so glad that your faith helped you through tough times. It’s funny because I’ve had the discussion challenge opened for the past two days, meaning to get to these posts and frustrated because I hadn’t. But now I’m actually reading this at a perfect moment because I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed today (not due to blogging things but other life things) and honestly past my limit – this is such a good reminder for me today. God knows my struggles and he’s walking me through it. He cares about the details and he has a plan for me. Thanks for reminding me!!


  5. This sounds like it was a tough but beautiful year. *hugs* I also had a lot of good moments mixed with a lot of stress. I hope 2016 brings renewal and relaxation for you!



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