I was sure I’d feel blobalicious.
It’s not that I’m super self-critical. It’s that the gap between what I was doing (eating a bagel, binge-tweeting, and drinking coffee) and what everyone else was doing (swimming 2 miles, biking 112 miles, and running a marathon) was huge.
To my surprise, I felt athletic! I felt outdoorsy! I felt great!
You could say that I’m delusional. (And Eric did, on Saturday night, when I decided we should crash a college party… For the record, they were interested in what I had to say.)
But these are the Race Day facts: I got up early (6am!), I was outside (all day!), I yelled at athletes, I wrote Hillary’s name on the street with chalk, and sometimes I even ran to the next cheering spot.
Her childhood nickname was “Booder.”
Being at Ironman was cool because I was surrounded by thousands of people pursuing an athletic feat so huge that there’s actually a maximum time limit—17 hours—because otherwise these crazy kids might keep going until the next day to cross that finish line.
Wish I had that kind of grit with my fiction writing!
And while Hillary is a professional athlete (she literally gets paid by sponsors to run, bike, and swim), many people doing this were ordinary folks like me who probably sit in front of a computer during daylight but they somehow found a way to get this done.
But my point is that it’s really true what they say, that what we focus on—and the ideas and emotions with which we surround ourselves—becomes our reality.
The Framingham Heart Study showed that everything from our peers’ smoking habits, to their weight affects our own.
It’s not because smoking and fat are contagious, it’s because our friends’ behavior around cigarettes and food sets the bar for us as to what’s normal.
This is going to sound cheezy, but I stand by it: We are like crystals reflecting colors from whichever of our edges catches the light.
It’s why I feel neurotic and diverse and opinionated in New York City.
It’s why I feel smart at Strand bookstore.
It’s why I feel afraid of strangers after watching the local news.
It’s why, after watching reality TV, I feel like the only thing Americans care about is being famous.
It’s why I feel cool and funny just looking at these gals:
I am so habituated to all this, that I only realized how much I’m at the mercy of my focus when I put myself in a new situation with new stimuli, and suddenly felt different, inspired.
Here I am, after I’d calmed down a bit (from my previous state of “going nuts”) and caught my breath after a 500-meter sprint to see Hillary’s finish:
So my point is not that I should give myself a pat on the back for doing nothing (although I kinda did that in this post).
The exciting realization is that I can choose my focus, I can choose how to catch the light, and what colors I then reflect. (I am so sorry if you thought I was done with that crystal metaphor.)
It’s my new argument for focusing on all the John Green books I want to read, for consuming the New Yorker, taking the Central Park route home, making an effort to be in touch with funny friends with big dreams.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s a great reason to tune out garbage, the RNC/DNC pettiness, and crappy reality shows.
I leave you with this.
Vamanos, let’s catch the light!