Any time that I have help with the kids for an hour or two – my mind immediately goes to all of the things I “should” get done… laundry, editing, emailing, cleaning, bill-paying… You know the list.

And what happens over time is that all of the “wants” go out the door.  The book reading. The exercising.  The spending time outside. The coffee-with-a-friend-ing.

I tell myself “I’ll do that next time” .. but next time never comes, because my mind is so conditioned to make all of that other “should” STUFF a priority.

For those of you who read my “freight train” piece… you know that I went through a low time.  And coming out on the other side of that… I made a decision to start controlling the things that I could control when it comes to my happiness and well being.  So when my hidden triggers or uncontrollable hormones catch fire…  I will have ways to build a barrier of health and positivity to try to keep them out.   And one of those commitments that I made was to pick the “wants” over the “shoulds” more often.

And today I put it into action.   While I had a little help with the kiddos… DESPITE having a million and one things I felt I “should” have done…  I dusted off my running shoes (literally. cobwebs), started up my podcasts (thanks, Brandon) and I went and fulfilled a “want.”    I fed my body energy with the exercise, and I fed my soul with an inspirational podcast at the same time.

And it. felt. amazing.

I felt the sunshine. I smelled the flowers. I felt the blood moving through my stiff muscles.  I felt that headache you feel when you haven’t exercised in a while and you can literally feel the stress coming out your pores.

I know going on a “run” isn’t something earth shattering.  I know that people documenting their exercise isn’t earth shattering either.  That’s not what this is about.  I had my own kind of “a ha” moment when I was out there today.

About 10 minutes in (dying, might I add. Mama is not a 16-year-old track athlete anymore!) – I decided to take a fun photo.  Not just because I’m THAT much of a nerd (I am) … but because I felt THAT good … and documenting that feeling is really good for me after going through so many low moments in the last couple of months. 


I was laughing out loud after I did it – and I turned to see if anyone busted me taking a running selfie.  No one was there – so I started doing leaps and turns and just being a complete nut because it just felt right in the moment.  I may have heard a bird laughing at me… but I felt awesome.

About 20 minutes in I wasn’t quite in leaps and bounds mode but more in “can I make it home” mode.  And although I was still feeling the high, I was looking down in a little bit of struggle and I  caught a glimpse of my shadow running with me.

And it kind of overcame me the longer I looked at it.

There she was.  The outline of me – but you couldn’t see “me” at all.  You couldn’t see the happiness in my eyes or the contentment in my expression.  She was dark  despite being in the middle of the sun.  It was the “freight train” me.  The one who had no emotion.  No spirit.  No soul. She was physically there. But nothing to show for “me” being there.   That shadow was the girl that picked the “shoulds” all of the time and never fostered the “wants.”

And I know I’m in a good place now because I was able to think those thoughts and smile.  Because I’ve accepted that my struggles are ALWAYS going to stay with me… they are a part of me.   And even though that shadow is not the REAL me… the struggles it represents are propelling me to make even the most minor of changes in my life to make it more fulfilling.

But the aha moment today?  I could only see that shadow-of-me when I looked down.

That picture I took when I was looking up? THAT is me. The girl on a mission to find the happiness in the little moments again.  The girl who laughs in the middle of a running path with no one around. The girl who is shedding the idea that it’s irresponsible to be spending time taking a run when I could (or should) be doing other things for the house, the family or my business.   The girl who recognizes what an awesome moment came into her day today because she chose something from the “want” column.


Written by Brea Schmidt


  1. Erin June 1, 2016 at 2:55 am Reply

    So inspiring, Brea! You help so many people, including me, with your touching words.

    • Brea June 1, 2016 at 2:00 pm Reply

      Thanks as always for reading. Glad this struck a chord with you today 🙂

  2. P November 6, 2018 at 9:56 am Reply

    So very inspiring. Thank you. Just found you and can’t get enough.

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