Just Show Up: The Empowering Act of Trying New Things
I’ve spent my whole life living with a physical mind challenge that pulled me back in school. I went through learning centers from grade school through college. I had a hard time in school, and a hard time meeting people who would understand what I was going through day to day. I didn't know what my future was going to turn into.
When I graduated high school eight years ago, I moved to a small city in the Northeast. I went to a tiny school with people who also had challenges similar to mine. I wanted so badly to finally find my community, but I was studying a major I didn’t love, and I never met people who could connect with similar interests.
I thought I’d find myself here in this new town—a place where I had expected help and support and new friends, but somehow I felt further than ever. I realized I needed to take a risk and do something new, because no one was ever going to tell me how to open my own doors.
I was already a runner but didn’t know how to expand my comfort zone in fitness. After my college graduation while working a job that I didn’t enjoy and struggling in my first years of living on my own, I wanted to do something new. I felt burnt out from just running.
So in 2015, despite the chill outside, I made myself walk to the train before everyone else was up so that I could attend a weekly event Harvard Stadium called November Project. I’d joined a running group some time ago and remembered hearing about the nonprofit that aims to bring people together through group fitness.
It was risky and something outside of my comfort zone. I didn't know what to expect, but that cold morning, it felt right to go. When I arrived, everyone was so friendly to me and welcoming. No one knew where I’d come from or what brought me there, and it didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I showed up. Since that morning, November Project was like a family to me. I was able to open up and be myself.
Over the years, I was able to dare myself to more things I didn't think I would ever do, like extreme workouts—even doing Endurance Races that balanced obstacles in between and running up mountains. Now, I have a wonderful community to do these things with. But at the same time, I’m also learning that I love doing things alone, as crazy as that may sound. This has become important to me because even though I’ve come to count on people who are close to me, the person I really count on is myself.
When 2019 rolled around, I decided to take a chance to start traveling to places I’ve wanted to go to but haven’t gotten a chance to. I’m still going to take those chances, because being 26, who knows what my future will still turn out to be?
All I know is that if I didn’t dare myself to walk out the door, if I gave up on finding my community, and if I didn’t learn to trust myself, I wouldn’t have let my sparkle out. I may still not know my future, but I know where I’ll be shining tomorrow and the days after that.
Windrose Magazine is your guide to navigating life in your twenties through a collection of essays, interviews, and advice that will inspire you to chart your own life course, free of comparison.
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