A Very Late New Year's Resolution

A Very Late New Year's Resolution

This is supposed to be my introductory post to this blog, a post that tells you why I “Run With Heart.”

This was also supposed to happen about six weeks ago.

The headline gives you a peek into a problematic part of my personality: procrastination.

On Dec. 15, I was ready and able to write a post. My log-in was created, my access was granted by my friend and committed American Heart Association volunteer cubicle dad and the ChicagoNow crew, and I even had an outline of what I wanted to write about that day.

But I used every excuse in the book NOT to do it. The holidays were on the horizon. Too much work to catch up on before taking a few days off. My outline isn’t perfect to construct a post for public consumption.


Today, 25 days into 2011 and a mere 588 hours since Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies partied hard to ring in the new year, I sit here writing my first blog post since this wacky TumBlog (a play on the term “tumbling” for all those unenthusiastic about gymnastics) back in 2007.

This post also reveals the very late new year’s resolution I touted in the headline: the end of procrastination in my life.

It’s easier to write such than to actually practice, otherwise I would have done it already. However, this leads me explain why that new year’s resolution, despite being declared closer to February, is so vital to me.

July 13, 2006. A summer Thursday night in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood. My mom and my three brothers sat in the living room watching television while I did some minor cleaning in the bathroom and kitchen. 

Earlier in the evening my mom had complained of some discomfort in her neck throughout the day. It was to the point that she thought about calling me to pick her up from work so she could rest at home, but she resisted. She never claimed to be tough, but she is the toughest person I have ever met. She raised five kids, including my headache-inducing self, on her own in Chicago’s rough Back of the Yards neighborhood. Some physical pain wasn’t going to keep her down.

Little did we know that the neck pain was a warning sign. As 9 p.m. approached, while I threw some empty containers into the trash, I heard a thud in the other room and subsequent screaming from my brothers.

My mom fell down, convulsing and unresponsive to my siblings’ pleas. Her eyes were wide open and in total shock. It was the final time I would ever see her eyes. I immediately called 911, and paramedics arrived to treat her and take her to an emergency room.

That evening my mom suffered a massive heart attack, one that left her in a coma for the next 18 days until she passed away on July 31, just 19 days from her 49th birthday.

Which brings me to why I have run with heart in the past and why I will resolve to stop procrastination and run with heart again. After encouragement from some great friends, I took up running last year. I ran my first race, the Race to Wrigley 5K, last April, and I took on about five more in 2010. Running became addictive to me.  

Each race, mostly during points in which I felt extreme exhaustion and thought about walking the remainder of the way, I would think about my mom, how much I miss her, and how an unhealthy heart is not going to claim another member of the Jaramillo family. “Keep running, John. Don’t quit. You can do this.” Those are common thoughts I usually had during races.

Ever since I finished the Chicago Half Marathon last September, my running has dissipated. My healthy habits have been pushed aside. I always tell myself that I am going to start up again the following day, but it hasn’t happened yet. Procrastination is negotiating a rent-to-own deal in my brain. 

As I wrote today’s post, I was reminded as to why putting things off, as trivial as some actions may seem, is detrimental. Besides the toll that my lack of running and eating healthy has taken on my physical health of late, I remembered something that hurts me in a different way: I didn’t tell my mom that I loved her, not even once, on July 13, 2006. That hurts more than anything.

I am glad I finally wrote this first post, as imperfect as it may be, because it reminds me of the costs that come with waiting to take action.  

So let me introduce myself. My name is John Jaramillo, and I resolve to cease procrastinating and run with heart once again.

Because I love my mom.

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