This week I did sprints up a mountain. Okay, okay, it was a hill, but it was still high so the rest of this post I will continue to refer to it as a mountain.
If I'm being honest, I hated it most of the time. Running up a mountain sucks. My lungs burned, my legs were weak, and I hated the amount of sweat my body produced.
My friends and I ran to the bottom of the hill from our house and by the time I got there I wanted to quit. They convinced me to do the first sprint. Halfway up I told them I'd meet them at the bottom, but they pointed vaguely in the distance and said, "We're almost there." They lied, but I ran forward.
They were patient and pushy all at the same time and I'm grateful. They didn't let me quit—they knew I could do it and they knew it'd be good for me. If I had set out to run up that mountain by myself there is no doubt in my mind that I would have given up.
The run brought me back to a talk I heard that week where the question posed was, "Who are you running with?"
Moving across the globe and going back to school is not an easy process, but every step has been made easier by the people around me. People encouraging me to take risks and leave my comfort zone; reassuring me I'm not as stupid as I feel in this world of academia; bluntly telling me I'm being irrational and everything will be fine so calm the heck down.
In the moment, when I'm facing mountains (both figuratively and literally) and I'd rather just stop going, my brain tells me it'd be better to cut these people loose and find friends who'd go a little easier on me. But when I reach the top I see things clearly—I would never have made it up the mountain without them.
The people I'm running with are patient and pushy and altogether the good for my soul.
So the question is, "Who are you running with?" If the answer is people who let you stay unchanged and unchallenged, maybe it's time to find some new jogging partners.
PS- To my patient and pushy people, you know who you are, I'm thankful for you.