This article by Kass Berry originally appeared on her blog, The Lone Runner.
I walked through the door of the empty running store in full hysterics. I wasn’t ready to talk about my messy life so I kept my eyes to the ground as I tried to quickly pass by TJ to make my way to the back room to dry my tears. No such luck. You can’t get much past TJ, a college track coach and high school social studies teacher the man has eagle eyes inserted in the back of his head.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa there. You alright Goldilocks?” The nickname wasn’t intended to be a term of endearment, rather it was more of Mr. One-of-a-kind TJ Smith’s endearing communication style.
My tired, bloodshot eyes raised themselves from the floor to meet an attentive face riddled with deep concern. He gave me a stern look from behind the sales counter as he leaned forward and lowered his voice to genuinely ask, “Seriously Kass, what’s going on? Are you okay??”
“NO TJ. I’m not. I’m confused. I’m all over the place. I feel sick to my stomach, empty and lost.”
With a puzzled expression he furrowed his brow and stared deeper into the storm brewing behind my eyes. To his credit he was trying to stay with me, but I wasn’t really giving him much to work with.
“I think I’m getting a divorce. No- I am. I am getting a divorce.” As I muttered the words my lips quivered and my heart winced in pain. It was the first time I allowed myself to release the word into the atmosphere. Divorce. Horrible, awful, painful, stressful, lonely divorce. Overcome with emotion I began to retreat into myself: I broke eye contact with TJ and dropped my head towards the floor allowing two rivers of salty tears to cascade down my cheeks.
TJ abruptly clapped his hands together while releasing a surprised squeal of excitement into the air, “Oooooooooh!!!” and quickly followed it up with a robust, “CONGRATULATIONS!!”
With stark confusion in my eyes I raised my head to meet his gaze once more. “Wait, what?!?” He must have misheard me, ” I said I’m getting divorced, TJ. It’s not something to celebrate.”
Taken back by my response with an elated tone he pushed the even further, “On the contrary princess!! Today you are choosing happiness!! This is an amazing, exciting time for you!! You’ve been unhappy for quite awhile and today and you have decided to take the tough steps necessary to hunt down happiness. A congratulations is DEFINITELY in order, Kass!”
“You don’t get it TJ. My family, my life, it’s gone- it’s over.”
“You can’t see it yet, but your life is really not over. Yes your old life may be gone in a sense, but your new life- a future full of hope and happiness- well it’s just beginning.”
How he saw everything so clearly at that moment I’ll never know, but I’m starting to think that my friend was on to something that late Friday night. At that moment I wasn’t ready to share in the level of excitement for the path of endless possibilities but with each passing day I am warming up to TJ’s notion of choosing happiness in the year ahead.
What exactly do I need to do to choose happiness? I don’t quite know, but I guess tackling new experiences is at the core of this uncharted exploration for happiness. I will try new things. I will meet new people. I will challenge myself emotionally, physically and intellectually. Most importantly I will learn to embrace the discomfort. I will dig deep and I will grow in the year ahead.
I will prioritize my daughter’s happiness and healthiness because a healthy happy mini-me makes for one happy mama.
I will run Boston.
I will CRUSH Boston.
I will discover my own style and decorate my new apartment.
I will read one book a month!
I will continue to coach AMAZING athletes, educate myself on the run-game and devour as much new information on the run-game that I can.
I will step outside of my comfort zone socially and mayyyyyybe set foot in a bar … mostly just to sing Karaoke with coach Beth, obvi…
I will laugh more and cry less.
I will be myself 100%, my crazy talkative, sarcastic and energetic self.
I will forgive myself for my mistakes, learn from my past and eventually more love myself- imperfections and all.
I will learn to love the cat.
I will NOT brush the cat on Saturday nights while watching sex and the city reruns. Never again!
I will build a career around my passion to motivate people to push their limits and reach their goals.
I can. I will. I must.
Say hello to 2016, the year of choosing happiness.
To read more from Kass Berry, click here.