People do dumb things. It’s one of the few things you can rely on. You’ve probably heard that old quote that goes “the only constant is change.” But really it should be amended to “the only constants are change and people do dumb things.”
I should know. I am a people and I just did something dumb.
I ran a half marathon on Saturday.
Not dumb enough for you? Just wait, there’s more. I ran a half marathon during a Nor’easter, which is a wicked storm featuring heavy rain and snow and strong winds.
Still not dumb enough for you? Here’s the best part. I paid not-dumb people $80 for this privilege.
If you would have told me 20 years ago that I would one day sign up to run a half marathon, I would have rolled my eyes so hard at you I would have seen my brain. Shoot, if you would have told me just last year that I would sign up to run a half marathon, I…well, I wouldn’t have heard you over my screaming children. But after I asked you to repeat it four times I would have responded by laughing so hard I probably would have woken up the baby and then I would have thrown a pan at your face for making me wake up the baby.
And yet, there I was. On Saturday in Cape Cod. Running 13.1 miles. In a row. On purpose.
Not only that, I trained for it. For months, I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and strapping on my shoes and running four, five, six miles in the dark. On the weekends, it was seven, eight, nine miles. All on voluntary terms. All without anything chasing me. And all with no other purpose than I needed to run a lot to get ready to run even more.
Like I said, dumb.
On the plus side, it was also hard and painful and exhausting.
But it was transformative.
For some reason in our society we have this idea that people don’t change. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. But I do know we evolve.
We evolve with each trial and tribulation we overcome. We evolve every time we learn something new. With every new experience, every new person we meet, we evolve. We evolve every time we fall in love. We evolve with each heartbreak. We evolve when we hold our children for the first time.
And we evolve every time we conquer what we think is the unconquerable.
That’s why I signed up, dumb as it was. It’s easy to think that the way things are, the way you are, is how it will always be, how you will always be. I was a tired, overwhelmed mom who was getting increasingly frustrated at both herself and the way the world was.
But change is the only constant. And that’s why I ran (limped) for miles in a storm. To prove I could evolve. That I could become the kind of person who crosses the finish line. That I can be whoever I want.
And now that I did, I have a whole list of other unconquerables. I want to write a novel. And a children’s book. To become a decent photographer. To buy a house and foster orphaned pets. To be the best mom and wife and daughter I can. And, lord help me, to run a full marathon.
And there are now fewer doubts in my mind that I can do all these things. Because I evolved. Because through this experience, I became a better version of myself.
And look, this could just be the endorphins talking here, but finishing that half marathon gives me just a little bit more hope for all of us. We can be better. We can make this world better. We can do the impossible because history has shown us that doing the impossible is what humans excel at.
All we have to do is try hard. Forgive ourselves. And try harder.
And yes, I realize how naive this all sounds but hey, we could all stand to be a bit dumber that way.