This post is actually not what it may seem. I was browsing through my computer and found a file that stood out. It was a little something I wrote for an old personal blog that I never posted. It’s been written in a story like format but it is absolutely true 100%. No exaggeration. It’s a confession, about becoming a quitter…quitting smoking and onto new things. This is somewhat emotional but if you’re trying to get into fitness or quitting smoking, I’d recommend you give this a quick read. (P.S. The images are recent, but the story is from several months back)
“How long as it been? 64 days? 65? Has it been longer? God!! I don’t remember.” I thought to myself as I huffed and puffed my way down the corniche. I had parked my car at the Layali El Helmiya restaraunt. This way I knew that no matter how far I went…I had to come back.
I was never into running long distance before. Truth be told, I hated cardiovascular activity unless my mind was preoccupied with something like chasing a ball. I was always a sports fan. Basketball, volleyball, football, rugby, and even that silly American interpretation of Rugby. I think it’s called Soccer? I don’t know really.
I kept on running and thinking to myself, just a few more feet and I’ll turn back. As my mileage increased over the weeks, I found myself losing that feeling of sickness, that pain just under your rib cage. Could have I been building up my stamina? Maybe. Maybe it was just one of those “good days” runners keep talking about.
You see, my dear friend is the one whom I have to thank for this habit of running. She has been more than just a running partner but has also been the most supportive person I’ve known throughout my journey to quit smoking. She kept telling me that these pains in my abs, this shortness of breath would slowly go away. She told me that if I kept running, any desire to smoke would slowly wither away. At the time I wasn’t 100% sure of her words. But I’m fortunate enough to say, she was right.
Not only was she right, I was actually secretly starting to enjoy this running business. I was getting my tastebuds back too! It was like a wonderful world of new senses and abilities just fell into my lap. As the days flew by from that fateful day of quitting, the desires started to disappear and slowly turn to disgust for my old habit. Granted, I was a chain smoker…now I’m sick to death of the idea. Not only because it kills you. But because it’s hinders your ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
My friends think I’m crazy. My family thinks I’m crazy. Heck, I’m even sure my friend who got me to quit smoking thinks I’m crazy. But probably for different reasons than that of friends and family.
You see, I have one thing that works to my benefit as a runner. It’s not stamina (I’ve barely got any, but it’s getting better). It’s not athleticism (although I’m an avid footballer). No it’s not even that I quit smoking. It’s the fact that I just can’t stop thinking. One of the biggest problems for some runners and even potential runners is that they think it’s a boring form of exercise. For me, it’s completely the opposite.
I can slap some headphones on and just jog away into the sunset. I easily distract my brain from how tired I’m getting as I’m always thinking about different aspects of life. What I had for dinner, what I’m doing with my life, potential love, even sometimes I will try to solve mathematical equations. However, the number one thing I like to think about is how beautiful Kuwait is.
Just look around you. Next time you go for a run (or even a walk), just take a look around and realize how beautiful this city is. Think of how lucky we are to live here. Granted, I have to thank my friend again for this. She opened my eyes to this.
You see, when you run. At first, you think about your form or your breath or whatever else you need to think about to make it more bearable. I personally was really anxious because I kept trying to monitor my heart rate. Then she kept telling me “Just stop thinking for one minute, and enjoy the beautiful city. You don’t know how lucky you are!” It took someone who’s lived here probably a fraction of how long I’ve lived here to show me something new. I’m very fortunate and appreciative of this.
I now run, music on full blast and look at the beautiful scenery. I watch the people as I run and think of their lives and how happy they are in this country. How lucky they are to be able to live in Kuwait and experience this beautiful city. I know we have a pollution problem, but forget about that for just one minute. Take a deep breath. Relax and enjoy the ride!
“Keep running…keep running” I thought to myself. Those few extra feet I told myself I should go turned into a few extra kilometers…then into a few extra miles. Soon enough I had left Layali el Helmiya and reached within a few minutes away from my ultimate goal.
My friend had on several occasions run from McDonalds on the Gulf Street to the Kuwait Towers. A distance I would have never thought of even reaching by bike let alone jogging/running. However, her persistence and support gave me the strength to at least try.
You see, when you’re in Kuwait and haven’t lived here for long. You tend to do whatever makes you happy. Whatever you’re used to doing outside of Kuwait. For many people, these things are detrimental to your health. However, my friend is a runner. She’s a hardcore marathon enthusiast. Here I am on the gulf with her. An ex-smoker, trying to clear out his lungs. Now I’ll admit. It’s not an easy task. Quitting smoking was difficult. So was starting to run. Oh the decisions for both were very easy. However, actions were much harder.
I neared in on the towers…they were just within my grasp. I thought to myself “Oh dear lord, I’m almost there!!”. I took my headphones off at this point as I passed by the Chillis restaraunt. I started to hear my breathing and my heavy feet. This drove me into a world of confusion. Suddenly, I started to feel tired, I started to feel pain in my abs, I started to want to give up.
At this point, I looked over to the side to find my dear friend who has kindly jogged next to me the whole way. Who has kindly kept to my turtle like speed. Who has never left my side and supported me the whole way. The friend who has kept me going everytime I wanted to stop. She glanced back at me, we didn’t exchange a single word. She smiled. Then all the pain and all the nonesense I was feeling just disappeared.
Those last few steps were glorious. The run ended with a high five and the biggest smiles to go around. It was as if I had just won the Boston marathon! I was filled with different kinds of emotions and happiness. I looked back at my friend and said.
“Finally…I did it”
She looked back at me. Without exchanging a single word, she nodded and smiled.
At that moment. I knew what I had to do. I knew what it was that she wanted me to do. It was inevitable, she didn’t stick with me this far just so I could run here and call it a day. The non verbal communication was clear.
I smiled, acknowledged what she wanted me to do and replied back to her with these few simple words;
“Alright, we’ll run back to the car”…
I’ve never seen someone so happy in my life.
And through all the pain and emotions I was feeling at that time…I was also, secretly, the happiest man in Kuwait.
Morale of the story is: Don’t give up, whether you want to quit smoking or run a marathon or get a promotion or whatever it is you want in life. If you make that decision, you’ll need to follow it through actions. It’s all the steps you take to get there that make it worth it. You’ll sweat, you’ll feel pain, you’ll feel annoyed, you’ll feel a whirlwind of emotions. But one thing I know you will feel when it’s all said and done, is extreme happiness. Your goal is yours, the only one holding you back from it is you.