The Roads We Travel

A few days in a life journey.

Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

I Did a 10-Mile Trail Run

A few weeks ago, I started running. Well, more like jogging. Actually, I probably walk more than I jog or run, but I manage to get a bit of it all in there.

A friend inspired me to start running during our conversations about a half marathon in Santa Barbara this coming June. I’ve never run a half marathon or anything other than short sprint races in middle school.

That was many years (and pounds) ago.

Last weekend, another friend invited me to do a training trail run with her. She’s an experienced marathoner and I’m always in awe of what she accomplishes. At first, she said we would do a 6-mile training run, but when we showed up the morning of the run, the training group leader said we would actually be doing a little more than 9 1/2 miles that day.

group-training-trail-run

Ummmm, what? Is it too late to back out? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

But, my friend was a great coach and motivator. She encouraged me the whole way and never left me, even when I suggested that she should save herself and leave me to rot.

trail-run-photo

In the first mile, our run took us up about 500 ft and on a steep incline. I truly didn’t think I would make it, but I kept going. Four and a half hours later we emerged down that same hillside and I was truly amazed.

I didn’t think this body could… would, but it did.

There were moments I wanted to puke. Moments that I cried. Moments that I vowed never to speak to my friend again. Moments when I doubted myself, my sanity, and even my ankle strength to carry me one step further.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

I persisted, we persisted and we finished.

My friend said to me that this run would be more mental than physical. She said that when you cross the finish line, there’s a feeling of accomplishment that no one can take away. You start to understand that any goal you put your mind to you can achieve.

trail-run-friends

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to push myself in this way, mentally and physically. I’m looking forward to my first race and crossing the finish line. Of course, I have a feeling that it won’t be the end, but more the beginning.

Written by Shara

February 12, 2017 at 1:29 am

Being there when you’re not actually there

Recently a friend and I had a text conversation about a miscommunication that happened in a group chat with some of our other close friends.

I’m glad that I texted her directly to ask about it because I learned a lot.

We both came to the same conclusion that even with all of the technology in our lives, it’s hard to be there for your friends when you aren’t there geographically or physically. I mean with all of the mobile technology, video conferencing and social media sites, you would think it’s easy to keep close tabs on how friends and family are doing, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

See, I know what Facebook and Instagram are all about. For the most part, friends are sharing the happy moments. Every now and again someone goes on a rant — perfectly acceptable but with limits. No one really shares the nitty gritty about their daily lives on social media. Not only would it not be well received, but it’s too embarrassing.

Okay, well, truth be told, I have a couple of friends who “overshare” and I can tell by the lack of likes, or I guess we’re calling them reactions now, that sometimes they go too far. Heck, I’ve done it once or twice myself, but I can always tell when “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Seriously, I have to stop myself from posting stupid thoughts like, “OMG, I’m cooking fish sticks again… for the third night in a row!” I mean it’s not the worst thing in the world. Right?

I want someone to commiserate. I want people to sigh along with me and say, “Yep, we understand.” The truth is that there’s too much judgement, too much scrutiny, and not enough compassion and understanding because when I post about fish sticks for the third night in a row, well, it’s really not about the fish sticks, is it?

Texting with my friend made me realise that for some reason we’ve adopted that same attitude in our girlfriends group chat. This is a private group chat with 8 of my besties. We all know each other from our college years or shortly thereafter. We all know the dirt, the crumbs, and the back stories of each other’s lives. I mean, there’s really no line we haven’t crossed and there isn’t a favor too big to ask — although the answer might be “hell no!”

These are my just-say-the-word girls, and yet somehow, we’ve adjusted our personal flow and friendships to the formalities of today’s social tech. WTH!

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing Facebook. It’s a lifeline for me living so far away from family and friends now. I get to keep up with the fun and exciting things in their lives, and I’m very grateful for that. However, there’s just no denying the relationship void that sets in with distance; and social media, or really any of today’s technology, won’t fill it.

So far, the only way that I’ve found to be there without actually being there is by making a good old fashioned phone call… but ain’t nobody got time for that! 

jk lol 🙂

Written by Shara

March 8, 2016 at 2:43 am

Posted in Friendship

Hakuna Matata… No Worries, Life is Good

Today was nice and warm here in Los Angeles, Cali — somewhere around 86 degrees. A nice day for a dip in the pool … for the kids of course, I can’t be stuck with pool hair in the middle of the week.

just keep swimming

My son, the 11-year old joy of my life, loves to go to the pool. We had him in swim lessons at an early age, so while his front stroke isn’t the prettiest you’ll ever see, he is very comfortable in the water and that makes me more comfortable taking him to the pool.

I love to watch him splash about. Get in, climb out, jump back in. See, he’s figured out that the water feels warmer when you’ve been out of the pool for a little while. So, naturally he gets in and out of the pool, over and over again.

My son has Asperger’s, so we are still working on some of the social graces, like not wading too close to other people in the pool, managing the volume of his voice, stifling the loud grunting noises and wailing because the water is cold, and playing with — not just beside — his friend who also came along.

If it sounds like I’m running through a checklist, it’s because I am. I take notes when we are in social settings, so that I can know what we still need to work on and to recognize how much he’s really grown.

Listen, I don’t know what I’m doing. He’s my first child. I read books and articles, watch videos, go to lectures, talk with doctors, teachers and therapists, join online groups and more, just to educate myself and to do the best that I can for him.

Today, two 20-somethings (old enough to know better) were at the pool, snickering when my son came by snorting and grunting. They even had their cell phones out at the side of the pool and tried a few times to take inconspicuous pictures of my son, but they kept looking up and there I was watching them both like a hawk. They put the cell phones away, thankfully. I didn’t want to make a scene or be accusatory over something that maybe was an innocent misunderstanding, but I trust myself enough to know that these boys were up to no good. Having a laugh at my son’s expense.

It breaks my heart. They don’t know how far he’s come. They don’t see how much progress he’s made —  to even be in the water at all.

And my boy… my joy, he splashes around them completely oblivious of their ignorant snickers, malicious glances and hateful stares.

He’s happy! Life’s good. No worries, mom… hakuna matata.

So, I relaxed in my chair, still watching, but deciding to be a little more like him today.

Written by Shara

June 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Confrontation Is Still Hard for Me

Today was a tough day.

I had to talk with a close friend about something that was weighing on my heart and mind for a long time. I kept putting off the conversation, convincing myself that the issue would go away or eventually it would seem less important. Well, that’s not the case, in fact it got worse.

First of all, I hate confrontation — I mean I REALLY hate it. Years ago, my boss and mentor brought this to my attention and challenged me to grow in this area. He noticed that I would never say if I had a problem with something, I would just wait until things got intolerable and then lash out. He told me that I should speak up sooner when there is a problem and I agree, but old habits die hard. I’m better now at confronting issues in my life, and people, but it doesn’t make me hate it any less.

I usually have to force myself to discuss a problem with a close friend or relative, and today was no exception. In my mind, it goes something like this, “1, 2, 3, SAY IT!” Like giving myself a mental nudge. I knew that I was going to say it today, but I also knew that my perspective on the issue might not be well received. I was right.

At the end of the day, I believe if you are close friends, then you should be able to have difficult conversations and in fact, sometimes, those tough conversations can bring you closer. Sometimes you lose a friend and that’s happened to me before too. I’m hoping for the former, but I have to say folks it was really hard, tears were shed and voices were raised.

We parted with words of love, but I feel the hurt and hope that we can get to a place of resolution really soon. Pray for me and my friend.

Written by Shara

March 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm