I love the two young women in this picture. I love their joie de vivre too. And then there’s their “just do it” attitude that prompts them to try new things regardless of what other people might say.

This photo was taken just a few moments after we’d enjoyed a nice lunch with various family members in Manteo, NC. The lunch was to celebrate five of us completing events related to the Outer Banks Marathon, Half Marathon, 8K, 5K, and Fun Run.  My brothers and I completed the half marathon, and Elizabeth and Sarah Beth ran/walked the 8K. It was a picture perfect day (trite but true expression), especially in terms of the weather. The Outer Banks setting added to the awesomeness too. What’s not to savor about briskly moving along beside the Atlantic Ocean and catching glimpses of pirates, Jockey Ridge, sea birds, and gorgeous homes along the sound?

I’ve been participating in events such as this for over 30 years, and I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m so happy with my time!” It’s more likely that I’ll hear excuses for failure to go the distance in record time. “I didn’t’ sleep well last night,” is a frequent one. So are the following:

*“I’ve been sick this week.”
*“I really  haven’t had a chance to train.”
*“I’m not used to running on this terrain.”
*“I’m used to cooler temperatures.”
*“I do my best running later in the day.”

Regardless of their truth or originality, they’re all excuses.

Although my niece Sarah Beth did exceptionally well in the 8K, she wasn’t completely happy with her time. But then, a few minutes after her finish this is what she said, “If anyone dares to say anything about my time, I’m going to say something about their laps around the couch!” When I chuckled at this, she continued, “I mean really. How can anyone say anything about my time when their only exercise is pressing the remote?” That’s my girl, SB!

The family talked about this concept the rest of the weekend. Why is it that people criticize others when they haven’t done anything of merit themselves? And why does it bother the “just do it” folks to hear putdowns? As another example, I often hear people making fun of the people on American Idol, and although I don’t watch that show, I know enough about it to know that the performers sing a heck of a lot better than their critics.

As I told my daughter and niece, it doesn’t matter what your time is, how your performance stacks up to others, or whether you win a prize. What matters is that you get into the fray and give it a shot. It’s better to “just do it” than it is to run laps around your sofa and poke fun at the ones who are going the distance.  Plus, the girls had their picture made with a pirate, earned a cool medal, and enjoyed the post-race ambience at the track.

They’re always naysayers, critics, and bullies, but you have to ignore them and their negativity. Their comments don’t matter, not one iota. And I think this applies to just about any endeavor in life. Whether you take pictures, write poetry, or bake wedding cakes, you just can’t let the critics hold you back.

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