Monday, January 23, 2017


Life is full of diversions that distract us from what's important. There are thousands of shiny things to divert our attention from the things in life that actually matter. I was like a dog chasing a squirrel in 2016 letting unimportant and negative things take my attention instead of focusing on the important things in my life. That is changing in 2017.

Last weekend I went to visit my siblings in Norfolk, Virginia. I love Norfolk, and even 11 years after moving away it still feels more like home than Michigan (a state where I have lived for 11 years, and I only lived in Norfolk for two and a half years).  Visiting my siblings is not about what or how much we do but rather seeing these people I love so much and making sure my son gets much needed quality time with his cousins. 

Because toddlers and doughnuts are always a good idea. 
We spent the weekend relaxing, visiting the Virginia Aquarium, eating, drinking and just talking. It was perfect. My son loves playing with all three of his cousins (although he was slightly jealous when I was holding my 5-month-old nephew). Being in Virginia is always a good reset for me, and it was exactly what I needed to ignore life's diversions.

On our way home our plane was diverted to Fort Wayne, Indiana (we were on our way to Detroit). The fog has been crazy in Michigan, and there was zero visibility in Detroit. We sat on the tarmac in Indiana for about 90 minutes, and I was traveling along with my toddler. He slept the two hours from Virginia to Fort Wayne and was a champion while stuck on the plane, and even with that I found myself in tears at the announcement that our flight was being diverted. There was something so disconcerting about being sent to an entirely different place, and the sense that everything was entirely out of my control was overwhelming. 

That's got me thinking about life's diversions being like my flight yesterday. If we focus on them diversions are disconcerting and overwhelming and can take us down a negative path. As many challenges as 2016 had, focusing on them would merely be a diversion. In 2016 I watched my beautiful son grow and become a wonderful, sassy toddler. I watched my husband be the best dad and supporter of our family, and I fell more in love with him. I spent quality time with friends and family. I achieved professional goals and had people I respect and admire affirm the advocacy work I've done since I moved to Michigan more than a decade ago. The other stuff - the negative, the focus on health challenges, the drama - were simply diversions from a year that had some really amazing parts.

As I begin running again in earnest I will use that time to reflect as I always have. No music, no noise, just me and the sound of my (heavy) breathing and feet pounding the pavement. It will help drive out the many diversions and let me focus on the beauty and the positive that is everywhere if I only take a minute to look.  

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