I finally signed up to run a marathon. Before I hit the “enter” button, I looked again at a sample training plan and decided it was feasible, probably painful and exhausting, but feasible. Later that afternoon, I watched the movie Wild. It turned out to be incredibly fitting.
I had never heard of the movie or the book, but earlier in the week, I had been at Family Video with the kids when I walked by and picked it up. I read the description and it sounded interesting, so I rented it for five days because I knew it would take that long to find the time to watch it. And it did. On the day it was due back, I skipped out on nap time to finally watch it. (Oh, the sacrifices I make!)
The movie follows a young woman’s solo journey hiking 1100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. She had had a difficult past and found herself lost in life when she is in a book store and sees a guide to hiking the PCT and decides that she needs to do it to find herself again.
I enjoyed watching the movie and realized, at the end, that it was a true story, based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. I googled to learn more about this amazing woman.
Many of the articles that I read that discussed either the book or movie, wondered at the audacity of a 26-year-old woman attempting to hike the PCT alone. And that is when I realized that Cheryl and I are kindred spirits (and we will likely be best friends one day.) As I watched the movie, it had never once occurred to me that she could not or should not take that journey. And I was not surprised that she was successful.
And that is because Cheryl and I do not ask “Why me?” but rather “Why not me?” That can be applied to both good and bad situations; I am not surprised when bad things happen to me, because if you live long enough, bad things happen to everyone. But I am also not surprised when I achieve difficult goals.
When I announced, in high school, that I was going to pursue studying physical therapy, countless people warned me of how difficult the coursework was and how few applicants actually get in to PT school. How ridiculous, I thought, SOMEONE must get in, so why can’t one of those someones be me? And that is how I like to look at everything in life; why not me?
After watching Wild, I realized that my marathon is like Cheryl’s hike. I may not be hiking in the wilderness, alone, for three months ( instead, I will be running for five hours amidst Disney characters), but my childhood was not as difficult, my 20s not as reckless, so I do not need to get that extreme in my journey to find myself. Twenty-six point two miles around Disney World ought to do it.
Watching Wild reminded me that I am not a “why me” person, but a “why not me” person. And it turns out that Brady is, too.
Yesterday, I was at a birthday party with him at a laser tag place. There were plenty of arcade games that the kids were playing between laser tag games. He dumped more than a few dollars into the Keymaster game, the one where, if you line up the key just right, you win big ticket items like tablets, blue tooth headsets, and smart phones. He kept asking me for more money until I finally had to crush his dream.
“Brady,” I said, “No one wins that game! It is impossible. I am not giving you any more money.”
“But Mom,” he said, “SOMEONE has to win. All I have to do is believe in myself!”
I could not have been more proud of him. I gave him one more dollar. He did not win, but you would not have known by the smile on my face.