I did something on my run today that I never do. I ran alone and without music. I ran 4.09 miles since the Boston Marathon race clock was at 4:09 yesterday when the first explosion happened. I took some time to think, to try to make sense of this and all the other things in the world that make no sense.
Yesterday stunned me. I’d watched some of the early coverage of the elite runners and I saw the news about the explosions online almost immediately, and followed it as much as I could yesterday afternoon without having the TV on for my boys to see. They saw the headlines in today’s paper and we talked about it a bit, but they don’t need access to the 24/7 news coverage.
Like all runners, I’m sad and I’m angry that someone chose to attack our own. I’ve been at the finish line as both a runner and a spectator. I’ve stood right there and cheered and I’ve run under that timing truss many, many times now. But of everything I’ve seen in the past day, Lenore Skenazy’s blog post today at Free Range Kids, makes me the angriest of all. Lenore blogs about teaching our children to do things for themselves instead of bubble-wrapping them to insulate them from the world. Someone actually said,
“If you love your kids, don’t bring them into large crowds at high profile events. Yes, it stinks that you have to make these kind of choices, but the reality is that there are a lot of bad people out there. If you want to see the action, watch it on TV from the safety of your home. Thank you KEYE for helping me spread the word. Safety is not always convenient.”
Really? REALLY? Because I love my kids, I want to live my life in the exact opposite way. I want to do scary stuff and I want them to grow up doing scary stuff. I want to travel and go to large events and see & do all there is to see & do before I die. I want my boys to learn there is so much more beyond their house, their school, their town.
I’m terrified of heights and spiral staircases. Terrified. But I take every opportunity to climb and see the view whenever I can. St. Paul’s Cathedral in London? Yep, I schlepped to the top. It was scary. And it was worth it. Top of the Eiffel Tower? Same thing. Trekking across Hong Kong completely by myself to go to Hong Kong Disneyland? Totally worth it. In a few weeks, I”ll probably cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. Tell me that doesn’t look frightening. But worth it.
You know what else was scary? Starting my own business in an industry that barely existed at the time. I have a science degree, not a business degree. I wasn’t sure what I was doing. I made most of it up as I went along. And now that business thrives and helps thousands of families save and make money every year. Now I’m working with a second business in an industry I thought was saturated. It’s not. It’s going great. I love it. But jumping off that ledge was still scary.
Running a 5K was scary. Running a half-marathon was scary. Running a full marathon was scary. All three have been life-changing experiences. Everyone keeps telling me that we’re just crazy for signing up for the Dopey Challenge, 48.6 miles of racing in 4 days. It’s definitely scary. But the experience is going to be worth it. We’re going to train. We’re going to be ready. And we’re going to have a great time.
What are you scared of today? Are you scared to start exercising? Scared to take real steps towards changing your eating habits and getting healthy? Are you scared to travel because planning a trip is just too overwhelming? Maybe you’ve been thinking of going back to school to start a career you’ve always dreamed of? Start your own business? Move across the country? Get married? Get divorced? Try for a baby? I hope you can find a way to put your fear behind you and get started. Change your life.
Don’t sit and watch the action on TV from the safety of your home and don’t let your kids do it either. Get up. Get out. Be safe. Be prepared. Be brave. Do scary stuff. The experience is always worth it.