All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz – and I’m fine!

Jeff Spicoli, Fast Times at Ridgemont High

It seems like life used to be a lot simpler. I vividly remember grabbing my ID, my car keys, and a $20 and walking out the door in college; even after. What more did I need? Now it’s cellphone, wallet, did The Boy grab his hat, what about this and that… Things are much more complex these days – but are they, really?

All those things we “need” – is that really the case? I run (or any other workout) with a hat, because I tend to sweat a lot – but I’ve run with no hat. I wear headphones because I “need” music – but I could actually be hurting my pace by running with music instead of focusing on my stride, foot strike, etc. (Side note: I’m not going to stop running with my playlist.)

We have convinced ourselves of all the things we need – but if we really break it down, the line between wants and needs goes pretty far up the list. We need oxygen, water, basic sustenance, simple clothing and shelter – and you could probably argue the clothing one if you wanted. Note that list doesn’t include coffee, a phone, cigarettes, CBD oil, your Brooks Ghosts size 15E… I could go on, of course. Eventually I’d hit something that makes you say “Hey, that’s different – I really do need that!” If you’re honest with yourself, though…

You Are Capable Of More Than You Know

An old running proverb goes, “You run the first half with your legs, the second half with your mind.” Believe it or not, you can make it eight days beyond the moment when you think, “I can’t take another step.” I like to tell people to take no money and run in one direction as far as they can, so that they have to run back home.

Joe DeSena, Spartan Up!

Mind over matter: you can do so much more than you think. In general, actual physical limits are so far beyond where your mind will let you go that you’ll never approach them. That’s not to say you should get up off the couch and immediately go run 100 miles; that would be dangerous and stupid. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t limit yourself and your life. We talk about big hairy goals; I say the bigger the better. If your dream is to move to Tahiti, for example, why not go for it?

In that sense, I might add one need to the short list: purpose. Without an overarching purpose, a goal, something that drives you forward, you can live, but I’m not sure you can be truly alive. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined being where I am now. Two years ago, I was just starting to find my way, my purpose. Five years from now there will have been continued evolution, I’m sure – but that purpose will be guiding me forward.

Dream a Little (or REALLY BIG) Dream

I’m leading a Couch to 5k (C25K) accountability group; one of the members was talking about intervals and stretching out runs. Nearing the end of her run interval, her lungs were burning, legs tired. She said:

I’m just trying to keep going til the timer goes off.

Tai Smith

I realized that’s a great metaphor for all of us. Whether it’s a single crazy day in our hectic existence, or our actual life cycle – it’s one step at a time. We keep moving until time runs out and we move on to something else. None of us know when that timer will beep, so go as far as you can.

As adults, we love to dump on dreams. From an early age, The Boy would say he’s going to be a professional athlete. We would smile and think, “Sure, kid.” We know the odds, after all. We would never tell him flat out it isn’t going to happen – but, really, why the hell not let him go for it? What’s so bad about having that dream, that purpose? Sure, it’s long odds. History is full of people who’ve beaten long odds.

Do we, as adults, put down dreams because we’ve stopped chasing our own? Living for a purpose means finding that one thing every day that carries us forward, and makes us truly happy. Then we do it again tomorrow, and the day after. Little happys become long-term joy.

I think we do need that dream, that purpose, to keep us living full lives. Where you find that purpose will be unique to you, but don’t ever stop looking for it – and keep going til the timer goes off!

Cover Photo by Alexis Fauvet on Unsplash