It's Never Too Late to Be Who You Want to Be

"Are you talking yourself INTO what you want to do - or OUT OF it?" - Sam Horn How satisfying it was to cross the finish line of the Bolder Boulder 10K. I still can't believe I almost took myself out of the running ... before it even started.

Here’s what happened.

The BB is one of the largest 10K races (6.2 miles) in the country with 50,000 participants. I planned to be in the area visiting my son Tom, and thought it’d be a fun event to do together. It would give us something to train for and look forward to. A memory in the making.

This is no ordinary race. It’s got water slides, a singing Elvis, a Macarena dance-along, costumes, parents with babies in backpacks, shuffling dinosaurs, all with the stunning Colorado mountains as a backdrop.

Unfortunately, in the days leading to the race, the wimp inside me started speaking up.

“You’re not in good enough shape to finish. You didn’t train the way you should have.”

“Your knee has been popping out of place. What if that happens in the race?”

“It’s going to be a hassle getting into town, trying to find parking with all the crowds.”

Who was this unwelcome voice, this nay-sayer, taking pot shots at my dream?

Growing up, I had promised myself I wouldn’t become a grump, grousing about my age and aches and pains, taking myself out of the game of life. Yet here I was doing what I had promised myself I wouldn’t.

I had organized running programs in Washington DC when I was in my twenties. We would take people who hadn’t run before, and with the support of our enjoyable group jogs around the monuments and Smithsonian, they could finish a 10K after six weeks of training.

Yet here I was, worrying whether I could finish six miles … walking. Embarrassing.

The good news? George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

It’s also never too late to be who we want to be.

I told those doubts to get lost and started focusing on what a one-of-a-kind OPPORTUNITY this was. I reminded myself how glad I would always be I went ahead and did this instead of backing out.

I realized Tom and Patty could go at their pace, I could go at mine. That removed pressure. I told myself that if I needed to drop out, I could; but I would make that decision DURING the race, not BEFORE.

The night before, Tom opened our race packet, got out our t-shirts, pinned our numbers to the front, and researched the event online. After seeing all the closed streets, he wisely ordered an Uber so we could zip into town the next morning with no problems. Doing the actual prep made it all easy peasy.

Memorial Day dawned bright and sunny. A perfect day. The excitement and sheer fun of being surrounded by people making the most of their health and life was inspiring.

My comfortable pace allowed me to genuinely enjoy and imprint every step of this memorable experience. I wasn’t fast, but I finished ahead of the dinosaur. Only in the Bolder Boulder can you say that.

As I came up the final hill and into the stadium, I kept thinking, “I did it. I did it.”

Those words “I did it. I did it” are a fountain of confidence.

Every time we step up and do something that is in alignment with who we want to be, we like ourselves and our life a little bit more.

Every time we back out of something we want to do, we chip away at our confidence. We think less of ourselves when we pass up opportunities that would make the most of our life.

What is your version of the Bolder Boulder? What is something you want to do - have been thinking about going for - but those nay-saying doubts are creeping in?

Whether it's going for a promotion, getting involved in Toastmasters, applying for a job, or saying yes to speaking at a conference - you will never regret putting yourself into the game of life; you will only regret taking yourself out of it and wondering what might have been.

Ask yourself, “Am I going to be a spectator or a participant?"

Which feels better? Which will you always be glad you did?

You will never regret saying yes to life; you will only regret saying no and missing out on the satisfying, confidence-building opportunities and experiences that could be yours.

I'm speaking from experience. It's never too let to be who you want to be.


Rediscover the Stroll

In a few minutes, I'll be out on that powder white sand beach.  walking on beach And I won't be going for a power walk; I'll be going for a stroll.

Please understand; I believe in power walks. For the first few decades of my life, I was a competitive swimmer, tennis player and runner. Since then I've been a walker.

When you've been an athlete, the carry-over mindset when going for a walk is to go fast, get your heart pumping, and NOT STOP.

Stopping is quitting. Stopping is contrary to the goal of getting a work-out. Stopping is for wimps. Then one day, while on my daily lake walk with my dog Murphy in Reston, Virginia, I impulsively stopped at Gratitude Bench.

And Nature came and rolled at my feet.

All of a sudden, I could hear a variety of birds doing the original tweet. Much to my pleasant surprise, there was Mr. Blue Heron nesting in a nearby tree. A gentle breeze ruffling the leaves. The exquisite sounds of almost silence. I wouldn't have even noticed them if I had power-walked by.

Since then, I alternate "work-out walks" with strolls.

As former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones says, "There is more than one right answer."

The past few days, I've been exploring Saint Petersburg, Florida with my friend Judy Gray.  We've had the most wonderful strolls. Impulsively stopping here, checking out that path, wandering down that road, turning around to look at where we've just been. Pausing to imprint.

Judy likens it to going for a walk with her beloved dogs. They turn every walk into an exploration. Sniff, sniff, Tails up. Eyes bright. It doesn't matter if they've taken their neighborhood walk a hundred times before - it's still new and intriguing to them. Still a source of joy.

Judy said something profound. "We don't really experience a place until we walk it."

In the past five months as part of My Year by the Water, I've crisscrossed the country from Marina Del Rey to Chesapeake Bay ... twice. I've had the pleasure of staying at dozens of water-front resorts from Pensacola to Portland, the Hawaiian Islands to Hilton Head Island.

And Judy's right. I can SEE a town by driving through or around it. But I don't really feel I've EXPERIENCED it unless I've explored it on my own two feet.

It's the difference between being a spectator and a participant.

So, I will continue to power walk to get my heart pumping, my blood flowing and my body moving. And I will also set out on leisurely strolls so I can experience the world with newly aware eyes and an even more appreciative heart.

I will walk and roll AND stop and stroll.

How about you? What does walking mean to you and do for you? How does it help you achieve SerenDestiny - a life where the light is on in your eyes?