The flashing "new" button draws me in to a never-ending cascade of cached shows waiting impatiently to be watched. I'm completely addicted to The Bachelor, Real Housewives of Orange County, and America's Next Top Model, among others. I don't so much enjoy watching TV as I'm consumed by the false-sense of accomplishment gained by checking another show off of this imagined "to do list", fulfilling an unrealized need to actually do something.
Instead of being active or generally working to better myself, I spend my evenings and weekends parked on my roommate's red couch with the remote control wearing a groove in my right hand. I am beholden to my TiVo. I don't know how to escape its gravitational pull.
Then one day everything changed. In August of 2008 I finally got off my ass and hiked to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier for the first time. The experience was a true sufferfest, a word I didn't even know existed at the time, and it opened my eyes to the 'other' - other activities, other opportunities, other ways to spend my free time.
Today, I have a different community full of active, motivated, crazy people who I cannot imagine my life without. These friends do a myriad of things that seemed so outlandish a few short years ago, things that are, admittedly, pretty damn crazy to most people. As an exercise in appreciation for progress, I put together this list of activities that I find fairly normal these days. Should you find yourself needing similar perspective, I encourage you to make your own list to help appreciate how easy it can be to re-calibrate your life.
Outlandish to Ordinary:
- Running a half-marathon
- Climbing to the summit of Mt. Rainier, skiing down
- Going more than 3 days without a shower
- Running a full marathon
- Pooping into a bag, sealing it up, and carrying it many miles on your back until you find the next trash receptacle
- Living in your car, often for months at a time
- Bragging, online or in person, about your catastrophic injuries and resulting scars
- Running more than a marathon, say the Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim ultra
- Setting up camp, going to "sleep" at 7pm, getting up at 1am, climbing through the night to see sunrise on the summit, climbing down, hiking out, driving home, passing out, and considering it the best weekend you've had all year
What's your new ordinary?