I often wonder when it starts.
When do we begin to shift from hopeful to cynical?
Does it start when we are in junior high and trying so desperately to fit in that we hide our love of Barbie dolls or Disney World or Transformers as to be “cool”?
Is it when we are in high school and our heart gets broken for the very first time?
Does it happen in college when our imagined major turns out to be nothing like what we thought it might be and it’s time to face “reality”?
For me it was all those things and many other moments – big and small. I found myself pretending to be cynical and world weary and sarcastic to seem grown up and cool and not naive about the world. Adulthood was hard enough without giving anyone a reason to not like me or determine they could take advantage of me.
Over the last few months – since the election really – I have been pondering our collective response to the world and the ways cynicism is everywhere.
The 0.0 stickers.
Social media comments and cruelty.
Watching things happen and not stepping in to say – this is NOT OK.
And the response to toughen up, accept that this is the world we live in. That if you see it differently you are a loser or aren’t living in the real world.
But what is wrong with hope? Or having a passion so amazing it makes you spring out of bed in the morning?
This past weekend I went on a run that reminded me of the way becoming a runner has changed my thinking. It was a regular Saturday run with one of my favorite people in the world, Deb. Snow covered our route and we passed the time as we always do – sharing stories, laughing and just being ourselves. I left our 6 miles feeling a giddy joy that I have only ever found with regularity on a trail or race course.
And just like that… My sneakers became glass slippers.
The magic of the miles brings me back to the present. The world is full of possibility again. There are other things that do that too, of course.
Moments with my family.
My son’s face first thing in the morning.
A beautiful sunrise.
Wonderful, long conversations with friends.
A REALLY good book.
But those moments often get lost in the shuffle of my day-to-day. Running, on the other hand, is part of my routine.
I won’t pretend that I don’t run to stay in shape and to fit into my clothing and to get medals and to see great friends and to stay sane.
But I also run because of the positive energy of the running community. Because of those glass slipper moments. And we should all have those. They make life that much more sparkly for however long we get to hold onto them.
WHATEVER your thing is… Love it. Be it. Embrace it. We only live once. And I, for one, would rather live a life of hope than of cynicism.