It started innocently enough–friends discussing epitaphs via email. One thing led to another and poof–out of the blue there was this amazing story involving a museum in a place with lots of apostrophes (so I am assuming a foreign country) and exquisite art. The story involved once in a lifetime experiences (a blackout in a famous art museum)and meaningful conversations with strangers that involved life changing experiences and overcoming insurmountable challenges. The brief paragraph could have been and probably should be, a Lifetime movie. Channing Tatum should be involved. Just saying. I sat at my keypad and tried to come up with something witty or clever or equally as motivational . My response: I went to New Hampshire once.
Another friend popped in my office today. She was smiling–that kind of smile that comes from the soul and sort of radiates out like an inner light. Crossed the line into cheesy there- but it’s true. Rested and peaceful and happy she was. All rolled up into one smiling package. She was back from a vacation that involved majestic views, kayaks and WHALE WATCHING. Multiple pods of orcas to be exact. Damn. I went to New Hampshire once.
Another witty friend is in the final stages of obtaining her masters degree. She has 2 young children and a full-time job. Did I mention she has a 4.0 in said program? And that she is doing all of this on one fully operational leg. Well. I went to New Hampshire once.
Marathons loom in the future of another friend. She works all day, comes home to a husband who hugs her, gives her a pep talk and pushes her out the door to run. Run. She is running daily. She’s transforming her habits and her life and taking on something she’s never done before. Her FB and Blog are full of triumphs–even her momentary lapses in stamina or her tears are triumphs because she is overcoming them. Well hell. I went to New Hampshire once.
My other friend? She, her husband and her son picked up their lives and moved thousands of miles away to bravely live a meaningful year with family that she had been away from. Their days are spent living, totally living, every moment. Bi-plane rides, swing dancing, surprise birthday parties and stolen moments. That is bravery. My response. Well, you guessed it, I went to New Hampshire once.
Either I need new friends with less cajones and less zeal for life or I need to ‘broaden my horizons” (from Lil Abner) and take on the world a bit more. The line: I went to New Hampshire once carries as much weight as the tag line “no, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn once”. Don’t get me wrong. The friends I have don’t look at this as a competition. I don’t either but it is eye-opening to realize that everyone is doing something. They aren’t leaning into life. They are jumping, fearlessly, into life with zest and zeal. They aren’t whispering “I’ll try again tomorrow” but are seizing the days in front of them. Me? Well, I went to New Hampshire once. The New Hampshire trip was a leap of faith for me. It was bold and brave and unexpected. It was memorable and meaningful and all that jazz BUT it was 5 years ago and…well….I went to New Hampshire once no longer screams, “this is me-living out loud”.