Be Grateful

Welp, I’m officially seventeen years old.

Born at 7:03 am on August 9th, 1996.

But for now, I’m going to talk about my two biggest passions in life: reading and running.

On the plane I read a 332 page book in three hours.

Do you think I liked it?

Listen to me when I tell you that I have never read a more truly inspiring book. Don’t get me wrong, I mean, Voldemort definitely has his strengths, and the place Harry Potter has in my heart is forever, but nothing has literally changed me as much as this book has.

voldemortNope, that face is never getting old.

It’s called The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen. It’s kiiiind of YA fiction, but not to an extreme. And you can definitely trust me, because if I see another book about girls in high school trying to “find their way” I think know I will vomit.

the-running-dream-jacket

Anyway, The Running Dream won the Schneider Family Book Award, which recognizes an author for artistically embodying the experience of someone with a disability.

Yes, The Running Dream is about a girl who loses her leg.

Basically, in a spoiler-free synopsis (I’m not doing a review because I want more people to read it before I give the storyline away), the book follows Jessica Carlisle, a record-setting 400m runner, go through the rehabilitation following a below-knee amputation and her dream to run again.

Yes, you read that right. She lost her leg and never gave up on her dream. Now that is admirable determination. But it’s also heartbreaking.

This girl’s dog woke her up at 5:45am every day after she got home from surgery because that was when they used to run together. Every night she dreamt of running, and every morning she woke up to reality.

She had something that she was so passionate about, just snatched away, quite possibly forever.

If that doesn’t motivate you to run, I don’t know if anything will.

Those mornings when you have a run scheduled, but wake up tired, or cold, think about how lucky you are that you can run. Clearly, Jessica is a fictional character, but her experience is the reality for thousands of people. Whether its due to an accident, illness or injury, huge numbers of people have their dreams stolen away and stomped on.

This idea not only applies to running, but all of life’s challenges. No matter what life throws at you, be grateful that you have the opportunity! This trip I’m on right now is a perfect example. For two weeks before I left, I worried myself sick about it. I worried about absolutely everything, from the thought of being gone for a month, to gaining weight, to losing weight, to just being uncomfortable, the list was literally endless.

And then one night, my mom, desperate to snap me out of it, did exactly that. How so, you ask? She compared my anxiety to puss. Yep, like in an infected cut. It’s gross, but totally accurate. We put so much stress and importance on things that could be completely amazing, and they end up infected and “puss-like”.

I’m not saying every “challenge” is a life-changing trip to Europe. The hardships that we take for granted however, are things like exercising, eating healthy, going to school, periods (TMI? Whatevs), and boy troubles. But think about it. If you couldn’t work out or eat healthy, you know your quality of life would go down. Not being able to go to school? Hello, Micky D’s. No periods = no family. And a life without boys?! Don’t even get me started on that one.

All I’m trying to say, is that what reading this book made me realize is that every single hardship in life also has an upside. Of course, some of them may be more difficult to find but I promise you, they are there.

So, when you’re faced with one, you have essentially TWO options. You can buckle, and allow it to become infected with pus like I did. OR, you can stand up strong and tall, grab life by the balls, and OWN that monster. I’m proud to say that that’s what I did after experiencing the first option.

And there you are in bed, pondering whether or not its worth it to get up.

It is.

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