Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I guess I'm an optimist.
Helen Boardman at 104

I recently finished "If I Live to Be 100," by Neenah Ellis, the former producer from the NPR series, "One Hundred Years of Stories." It was a fascinating book. Ms. Ellis gives brief glimpses into the life of centenarians around the country, mining their personal stories for insight into how they have mangaged to live so long, their pasts, and their lives right now. One of the common characteristics of all the centenarians was their optimistic view of life. Each one truly believed that they (had) lived a blessed and charmed life even when many of them had been poorer than anything we can imagine. And their optimism continued throughout their lives. Another interesting commonality was that each believed he or she had a reason for being alive - painting, preaching, political activism - a purpose, and until that purpose was fulfilled, he or she couldn't die. One gentleman loved to paint. And he didn't want to die until he had painted everything in his head. That was his reason for being.

I've been thinking about that book a lot since I finished it. I think about my life and the times I have felt more at ease with the world, more inspired. And when I really look at those times, they are always when I had a purpose beyond just getting by: being pregnant, finishing law school, training for a swim meet, trying to do well in an ultra, etc. I had something to focus on, to sketch out the outline of my daily routine, to get me out of bed very early in the morning.
I don't think our lives should be solely about goals, but I do think it is healthy to have a passion for something - something that makes you feel lucky to be alive. And the icing on the cake is to have people to share it with!

New Year's Day run - I'm on the far right, hugging my older brother, Rick.

We decided to do an easy 12 mile run through the city, but it turned into a freezing, windy run through the city! As you can see, our numbers signigficantly decreased as time went on.

We are on the field of the Sun Bowl the morning after the game.

This is a sample of what our trails look like (we aren't running up this mountain, I just wanted to give you an example). I am way too uncoordinated for them!

I hope each of you starts this new year with passion and purpose, and people to share both with!

1 comment:

Theresa said...

Thanks for the encouragement today!
I liked your comments about the book you just read. I should find that book... it's timely for me. I have been injured and a lot of the same thoughts have been going through my head about having a goal to work towards and things to look forward to.
:) Theresa