How to Enjoy a 50K — Step 3: Don’t Panic
On a date the other night, the stranger in front of me asked if I had ever been to South Park, CO. For a moment I got excited and said, “Not yet, but I’m going there this summer!” Then I heard myself explaining out loud to said stranger that in a few months time I would be running 31 miles nonstop through the South Park wilderness at a very high altitude.
His eyes actually bugged out of his head, which he was shaking as he muttered something along the lines of, “Why? Why would you want to do that? That sounds awful. How do you even . . ?”
My smile disappeared. Not because I give a rat’s ass about what some random dude from a dating app thinks about my summer plans, but because for some reason, in that precise moment, the enormity of how grossly unprepared I am for this event hit me right between the eyes.
I’m human so I started to feel nervous. It’s a really long distance and I’m not in shape and I don’t like running yet and I’m still having a really hard time figuring out what to eat considering the slew of seemingly nonstop food intolerances I continue to experience every time I put food in my mouth and . . . and . . . and . . .
Then I took a deep breath and I stopped reacting. Because we humans get to decide for how long we will let something bother us. I stopped thinking about my unpreparedness as a bad thing and remembered to allow it to be a normal thing that makes perfect sense. Then I switched my focus to tomorrow because tomorrow is a day I’ve been looking forward to for a looooooooong time.
In just over three hours the clock will strike midnight and if I’m still awake—which I absolutely plan to be—I will officially begin celebrating my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Birthday. The big 4-2.
For the uninitiated, in Douglas Adams’ cult-fave five-book trilogy, a city sized computer named Deep Thought is tasked with figuring out the answer to life, the universe, and everything. It takes 7.5 million years to calculate and, ultimately, the answer turns out to be . . . 42.
To anyone disappointed with this resolution, Deep Thought—who is certain he has checked the answer very thoroughly—replies, “I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question was.”
I love this so much. It’s a wrench in the cake. It makes no sense. It’s a gorgeous slice of Say Whaaat? that makes you question everything and nothing at the same time. But Douglas Adams didn’t stop there. He went on to give us nerdy young bookworms what would be, quite possibly, the most important advice we would ever receive in our lifetimes . . .
No matter what happens . . . Don’t Panic.
I have been excited about this birthday for years because as humans we don’t just get to control our reactions, we also get to decide what things mean to us. A long time ago I decided that by age 42 I would no longer be thrown by the inconsistencies of life, that I would be fully confident in myself and my decisions, that I would be happy and healthy, and that I would understand how to genuinely and truly not panic in the face of anything life threw at me.
For the most part, all of these things have come true. I’m honest, emotional and vulnerable—and people will judge me for that however they see fit—but at my core, I almost never really panic about anything. I willingly put myself into some pretty extreme situations and I know how to stay calm and steady. This 50K will be no different.
The best part about this moment in time is that, with a three hour countdown, I get to sit quietly and decide to let go of any remnants of negative nonsense that might still be lingering. I’m thrilled to live in constant positivity. I’m thrilled to truly believe that I am the creator of my reality. I’m thrilled to understand that my thoughts create my experience of the world and I have the power to change them into whatever I want.
Thank you Douglas Adams, you rock!
Sending Love💛 & Light 💡from the brink of 42!