I grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and was back home visiting family this past weekend. Each year, the runners in the New York City Marathon begin in Staten Island, cross over the Verrazano Bridge and head through my old neighborhood on their way to Queens, the Bronx and, finally, to Central Park in Manhattan. It’s a 26.2-mile journey.
On that sunny Sunday morning, my mom, son Connor and I leisurely walked the two blocks to stand on the sidelines of 4th Avenue and cheer on the runners. First came the wheelchair participants on high-tech recumbant arm-powered bikes. Then, the elite female runners, the elite male runners and then the rest of the more than 38,000. Yes, 38,000.
As I watched the smiling faces whizz by (they had miles to go before they would begin to hit the infamous “wall” and get their second wind), I was inspired to think how much time and energy goes into becoming a marathoner. Some, I’m sure, have run all their lives and for others, this was their first major race. What prompted them to make that commitment, to find the time to train and the courage to compete? I felt their energy, their pride, their joy. They were so alive.
We may not be destined to run marathons but we all have events and challenges in our lives that make us feel completely alive. For me, it’s when I’m presenting a Working with Wisdom program and seeing those “light bulbs” go off as members of that audience smile and nod with recognition as they have their “aha!” moments. Personally, it’s when I’m playing with my family at the beach or reading an enlightening book or listening to inspiring music.
When do you feel most alive?