Newsletter editor Lily here.
Have you ever had a moment where you ask yourself, “When did I get so complacent in my life?”
I had that realization when I was watching the New York City marathon a week ago. When I was a senior in high school, I set my sights on running a marathon and started training for it. Unfortunately, a month before the marathon I’d signed up for, I got sick, and it was recommended I shouldn’t push myself past a half marathon. That dream of the full 26.2 miles was never realized and still hasn’t been since, even eight years later.
Similarly, I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was eight. I’ve wanted to pen a screenplay since I was 17. I’ve wanted to plan an international trip based around cities with phenomenal historic libraries since I was 18. The list goes on and on of dreams that lived vividly in my mind and died out over the years, not due to waning interest but because of things like age and adulthood and money and logistics. Growing up is a helluva thing.
So there I was on the sidelines of the marathon with my roommate, cheering on a friend of hers who was running. And then I was thinking, when did I stop being the person actively pursuing the marathon? And better yet, when did I become someone who orders the same dish from the same three restaurants, doesn’t do any creative writing, mostly reads nonfiction books, and doesn’t travel that much? When did I get older and forget to think about how to chase after dreams and make life more fun?
I got home and looked at the NYC marathon website. It turns out that since 2020 will be the 50th year of the marathon, the New York Road Runners were doing an early drawing for 50 slots for next year’s marathon in the days following this year’s event. To my own surprise (considering I haven’t run more than three miles at once in the past year), I signed up to potentially be selected for the early drawing. I found out last week that I didn’t get one of those spots. But you know what? I’m keeping my name in for the normal February drawing, too. And if all else fails, there are plenty of other marathons to run around the country and the world. So why not make 2020 the year I finally tick off this bucket list item?
Since that initial epiphany, I’ve become addicted to trying new things and putting myself out there more not just with big goals like the marathon but in daily life too. I booked flights to go visiting a friend who lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming next year; she’s been trying to convince me to fly out for over two years, ever since she moved there. I’ve found new restaurants and bars to go to for every social outing in the past two weeks. A friend and I have plans to go to a funky new champagne parlor in December that opened up in the city. I’m finally reading a lot of fiction again. (I cannot say enough amazing things about Red, White, and Royal Blue!) I’ve visited several museums (for free, no less) in the past two weeks, because New York’s great at that sort of thing. And after a thought-provoking 3.5-hour dinner with a former co-worker, I suddenly had a plot idea and potential characters for a novel. (It’ll be based in the New York startup world…and whew, I have #thoughts.)
And honestly? It’s been really fun. Sure, going to a champagne parlor isn’t some hyper-intense and worldly trip around the globe or a 26.2-mile foot race or anything, but it’s enjoyable getting out of my comfort zone again, especially in a city like New York with endless offerings. Life experiences don’t have to be big to add up or be meaningful. And I’m glad I’m rediscovering that.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- How do you travel with a cat?
- I feel like women are told that “society judges you if you’re a woman without kids or who doesn’t want kids.” Has anyone experienced the opposite?
- What are some tips for dealing with exclusionary behavior?
- TikTok: Are you more or less worried about your kids using a Chinese social network than a Facebook owned one?