Look around for the good

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

This line from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off resonates with Amy Mills, not just because the movie is one of her favorites to watch with her husband and daughters, but also because she’s taking special care these days to slow down and appreciate the good in her life.

It’s in a season of transitions for Amy, as her daughters Hannah, Gillian and Meredith, who range in age from 19 to 16, navigate their own life changes, and it’s prompting her to reflect on choices she’s made over the years.

Amy is a certified athletic trainer in Saugerties, New York, and currently works in a physical therapy clinic, helping patients after an injury or surgery. She used to work directly with athletes, but she switched to a clinic setting when her girls were younger so that she could be more available to them. She sometimes misses the action of being out on the field, but appreciates being able to watch her daughters in their sports.

And it’s allowed her own athletic journey to thrive.

“Something clicked when I turned 36,” Amy says. “I decided that I needed to start getting back to who I was, and one of the goals I set for myself was to run a half marathon. My education is in health science, so I knew exactly what to do, but you feel so alone.”

Amy discovered Fellow Flowers, and in doing so she found the community she was craving. She trained for and completed her half marathon and has continued on to other races, but she loves staying connected to the women of Fellow Flowers and the FFCrew.

“It’s become this go-to for me,” she says. “I like to check in and see who’s feeling like me, or who’s killing it right now.”

And running has been meaningful to Amy for what it’s shown her daughters.

“When I ran my second half marathon, all my girls were little and waiting at the finish line for me. They all saw Mom work hard and they saw her finish,” she says. “And they saw me set aside time to run and train, and how that carried over into being fit and staying healthy and having a goal.”

It’s important to Amy that her daughters make their own health a priority, as she has done with hers.

“In my profession, I see a lot of people who don’t take care of themselves,” she says. “But if you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be making time for your illness.”

Staying on top of her mental health is crucial too — and for Amy, it ties in with gratitude.

“Sometimes it’s just sitting quietly and writing down five things I’m thankful for,” she says. “What it does is reset those negative feelings. When I feel like things are starting to spiral out of control, I do it for two weeks, and it resets how my brain is processing things.”

As Amy focuses on gratitude, she feels a shift in her perspective, and the way she understands gratitude has also changed over the years, to something both deeper and broader.

“My definition has shifted,” she says. “I’m grateful for experiences good and bad, the people I’ve met, because they’ve all taught me something, and the communities I’m a part of, because they all offer something that I can bring into my life.”

She’s also learned from, and found deep gratitude in, her daughters’ experiences — such as at senior night for her daughter’s wresting team, when a video featured messages from all the athletes.

“My daughter said, ‘I want to thank my mom for coming to all my matches,’” Amy says. “I really took that to heart, because she was watching and she was looking.”

Because she, just like her mom, was taking the time, even as life was moving fast, to look around and not miss the good right there surrounding her.

Thank you for sharing your story, Amy!

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