Over the last year, I worked for a local nonprofit writing public grants: CoC, CDBG, ESG and other essential ingredients of social service alphabet soup. It wasn’t my dream job, but it paid (most of) the bills. There were three great things about my job: (1) social services are important; (2) my kid went to day care downstairs in the same building; and (3) I met my new best mom friends because all of our kids went to school together. This particular morning, I ran into one of my favorites, Audie. Super smart, organized, two kids, and always dressed to the 9s. I had recently changed jobs and didn’t get to see Audie (or my other mom friends) every day.

Audie: “Hey YOU! So good to see you! I am jealous you get to go on the trail every day. That’s great!”

CRAP. I had forgotten she followed me on Instagram. Not that there was anything wrong with it, but that’s where pictures of my life went. All the #trinitytrails #hashtag #hashtag #idontknowwhatiamdoing and all of the self-glorification when I needed motivation went there. I had recently started walking in the mornings before work in an effort to get some exercise in.

Me: “Uh, umm… it’s not every day. Like this morning I have to make an emergency run to Target because I got this thing later. And, anyway… I better go… Zachary is going…” My sentence trailed off as I walked my son to his classroom.

Gah, why am I so awkward? I couldn’t just say, “Yeah, it’s great!” like a normal person. For some reason or another I had to justify why I couldn’t go, even though the reason was half-baked.

As I dawdled through Target sipping my morning coffee that was, in fact, too sweet even though the Barista had assured me it wouldn’t be (#lies), I stopped to tap my Fitbit to see where I was. 2,571. Well, that’s LAME. Over an hour of chasing a toddler this morning and lingering at Target and that’s all I have to show for it? Then I realized: it was only 7:40 AM and if I hurried, I could still get in a 20-minute walk before work.

Suddenly, I had a sense of urgency. My excuses were no longer valid. I paid for my groceries and hurried out the door. When my feet hit the trail, an overwhelming feeling of calm washed over me. The fresh air. The winding river. The people riding bikes and walking by. This was my time. This was my 20 minutes to do whatever I wanted. I did not have anything to prove to anyone but myself.

That day I made a commitment to myself:

every morning I am able, I will walk before work. I also committed to giving myself a little grace with the understanding things do happen and life is often a series of unexpected experiences, no matter how much we try to control them. But most importantly to remember that every little bit counts.