In late 2021 my family moved from East Lansing to my wife’s hometown in southeastern Michigan. The pandemic introduced sickness and change to the world in both subtle and drastic ways. The entire world was suddenly different. Within a few months our daycare closed, my wife stepped away from teaching, and we were stuck within mandated boundaries for the near future. One thing that a global pandemic provides is space to think and plan. After some deep contemplation, we decided to move.

Change is inevitable. By moving across the state, I knew I would miss family and friends who still lived in the area. Some neighbors too. I knew I would miss the river trail I ran and biked daily. I would miss the Indian restaurant directly outside my neighborhood. I would also miss summer strolls to our favorite hangouts all within arm’s reach. I also wondered if I would enjoy a much slower pace overall and everything that accompanies a small town. 

But I have always believed it is what you do with change that matters. If something is inevitable, the best thing to do is plan for it, if you have time, or brace for sudden impacts if not. So, instead of sulking about what I was leaving, I decided to focus on my optimistic feelings about experiencing something new. Personally, I feel the first step to take when anticipating a substantial change is to allow yourself to experience those feelings for a bit and then simply move on.

At this point, I was planning to continue my every other day running routine to which I was committed. I knew I still had to eat and figured there were some good establishments around. I also knew that nature trails exist everywhere, although sometimes they need to be found. Finally, I knew there would be other people around with similar interests.

I started my search on the computer, finding a running store in the historic downtown area. I visited the store to get an understanding of what they specialized in selling. I noticed a flier stating a group of locals meet up twice per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays to run together. One Saturday I joined the group, and it turns out that the route they run happens to move alongside a river that splits through our town and connects to Lake Erie. I had found another river trail!


The wonderful thing about this river trail is that I have access by stepping outside my front door. One direction leads downtown and to the lake, and the other leads to a giant park with trails and a hill that local sports coaches use as an obstacle for their teams’ conditioning drills. There are miles and miles of city and rural routes, and I take advantage of them frequently. I have also eaten some tasty food in the area!

Everything ended up working out for the better because of how change was embraced, and the opportunistic side of life was put into focus. My wellness routines have only grown stronger as a result. I have met people with similar interests and enjoy our long weekend runs together. Overall, I get to fully enjoy everything my new town has to offer instead of being afraid of what expectations it might not live up to. I encourage everyone to embrace change, get out, and combine a workout with some curious exploration and see what comes up.