BY M. M. DONALDSON
Just ask anyone, and they will say their life is busy. Too busy to finish that project, too busy to exercise, too busy to go to college or too busy to write that novel.
And while you are too busy not doing the things you only dream of, time seemingly fast-forwards you five, 10 and even 20 years later. And what you end up with is a closet full of out-of-style clothes that don’t fit anyway, a collection of chipped tchotchkes and a bunch of Pokémon videos on VHS.
Five years ago, middle age hung heavy on me, weighing me down and atrophying my brain. Also, five years ago, I would not have imagined that I would be able to distance myself from more than 30 pounds after running four half-marathons (Hey, that equals two full- marathons, right?) and have earned another academic degree. Both of those things took a lot of time. A lot.
It is very easy to say that I have reached these two goals, but I know the truth. It took much patience, hard work and persistence.
A month after I started a quest to run in a mere 5k, I fell off the treadmill – while walking. Running consisted of 20-second spurts between 10-minute recovery walks. My gym outfits were not cute and the gym membership felt like a frivolous budget item.
At that time, the thought of a half-marathon in my future would have freaked me out. The best I could do is make myself go workout every day. Just like I will make myself go today. I would rather binge-watch Netflix with a bag of Cheetos, but I really, really do want to be healthy and spend big bucks on running shoes instead of prescriptions to keep me alive.
The semester I started an associate in journalism, I was terrified of talking to strangers. Each class, those mean voices in my head kept asking, “Who did I think I was fooling, sitting in classes with twenty-somethings and younger who were young enough to be my children?”
The encouragement I received from the journalism instructors and The Voice adviser allowed me to grow confidence in so many areas of my life. For the past two and a half years, I have been so fortunate to write this column and the comments from readers have been so encouraging. Writing this last Healthy Voice allows me to reflect how I’ve grown healthier, both mentally and physically.
So, on those bitter cold nights I would drive in nasty road conditions to make it to class that would end at 9 p.m. after working all day at my job. One class assignment, one test or one article at a time is all I let myself worry about.
While attending Washtenaw Community College I have met so many hard-working and truly busy people. Too often I see these students working hard to get a better job so they can be a better parent and support their family. These are important things, but I ask, are there things that you can do for yourself too?
Be a little selfish, don’t always make sacrifices for others but sometimes for yourself. The healthier you are and the happier you are, the more you will be able to do for others. With patience, hard work and persistence, you can do it.
M. M. Donaldson is a contributor with The Voice and a journalism student at WCC. She has a bachelor of science in family and community services from Michigan State University, and has several years’ experience with nutrition issues affecting infants through older adults. Follow M.M. Donaldson on Facebook.