Every day, I take time to give thanks. In 2020, I began to keep a daily gratitude journal. Every morning, I wake up, grab my journal and make a list of all the things I am grateful for that day. The first one on the list is always gratitude for waking up to live to see another day.
One thing I learned from 2020 is to take nothing for granted. Tomorrow is not promised. The present moment is a gift. Yes, it is a pun. It is purposeful and it is personal.
I am grateful for 2020 because it was a wake-up call. All the things I took for granted, all the things I complained about and all the simple freedoms I enjoyed, were now hampered by a global pandemic. My frailty as a human was placed immediately in front of my face. I had to recognize that something bigger than all of us could potentially end my life. And sadly, for too many…it did. I am grateful to be alive.
The challenge is not over and there is no returning back. My life has been changed and that is not a bad thing. I recognize the privilege I have moving forward. There are countries still being devastated by COVID and America is now planning to help distribute vaccines to these nations. I chose to get vaccinated because I want to run with people again. I am grateful for the privilege I have and the choice I have as an American to get the vaccine.
There are days when having gratitude is more difficult. I push myself to do it anyway. Since the pandemic began, I have been running mostly solo. I never imagined that I would run a marathon by myself, but I did it. I completed the 2020 NYC Virtual Marathon and ran 26.2 miles…alone. I am grateful that the pandemic helped me find a strength within that I did not know I had
On Saturday, June 26th, I will do my first community run with the Front Runners New York LGBT Pride Run® 6K. As a gay man who is the same age as the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, I am grateful that this is my first run to “Return to Racing”. I am happy to celebrate my pride and to be in solidarity with my LGBTQIA+ community.
Life is impermanent. I love facing that reality with gratitude because it helps me determine the choices I make to live each day. I prefer it. The one thing I always choose to do and plan to do until the end of my life is…run. Running with gratitude is my way of life.