Is_everyone_hanging_out_without_meAt this time of year, there are plenty of times when I’d rather curl up and escape winter with a good book rather than brave the outdoors and go for a run. This happens especially in the window after the holidays but well before the first signs of spring settle in. Let me tell you that during this time, there’s also quite the pile of books on my bedside table. 

Every once in a while you come across a pleasant surprise within the pages of a book. I had this experience recently when I read Mindy Kaling’s Is everyone hanging out without me? (And other concerns).

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In the midst of her extremely funny and heart-felt revelations, Kaling shares with us the joys of running that she discovered through the help of a friend. Kaling gained 35 pounds in her first semester at Dartmouth College at the age of 19. Never one to formally exercise while growing up, she preferred watching comedy shows or participating in school plays. But, then her friend, Brenda got her into running. Kaling says, “I was a sloth upon whom Brenda took pity, and she saved me from near-obesity with the patience and tenacity of Annie Sullivan, the Miracle Worker.” Kaling shares, “Our workout routine was simple and mind-numbingly repetitive, an atmosphere in which I flourished, oddly. I started walking for twenty minutes, and then Bren would make me do little spurts of running between lamp posts or street signs.”

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After their run, they would come back to the apartment and do an exercise video together. They did this religiously. Kaling explains that her friend Brenda was quite the athlete and made an exceptional runner, and that she worked out with Kaling out of the kindness of her own heart.“The whole experience was surprisingly fun and cemented a friendship between Brenda and me for life…in this safe and friendly setting, I lost 30 pounds in a semester.”

Inspiration comes in all forms. Thank-you Mindy Kaling for reminding me about the importance of running but most importantly, I thank her for reiterating the importance of helping others by taking the time to run with them. This idea is applicable to people all stages of life, whether you’re a college student or a middle-aged mom like me.


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