These are questions all five or six of my loyal followers have been asking lately, and there's no short answer. In September I walked in the Susan Koman Breast Cancer 3 Day. I should follow that up by saying that it was an overwhelming, life changing experience which made me believe I could do anything, including fly!
The truth is what I learned most about myself during the experience was 2 things: First, I know some amazing, powerful, driven accomplished women who make me proud to know them. Second, I hate walking. Hate it. Don't like it. I walked about half of the expected 60 miles. We wont call that a failure, because half of 60 is 30, and when was the last time you walked 30 miles over a weekend?
My experience was complicated by the fact that the week before the walk, my dear stepfather Bill passed away. He had been sick quite a while and the doctors had long given up on him, but he and my mother never stopped believing, and they never stopped fighting.
There are people in this world who have an amazing life force. They know how to live, why they live, and they do that to the fullest, every day. Bill was one of those people. So was my Uncle Tim, another incredibly special person who we lost last summer.
It's very clear to anyone who knew either of these men that there were very valuable things to be learned from having them in our lives. Live each day to the fullest. Live each day as if it were your last. Be kind to people. Be true to yourself. Have faith in your inner compass. Roll with the punches. Suffer fools politely, but don't ever let them make you doubt what you know to be true, and right, and good.
The example shown to me by these great good men seems so clear, in theory. But to put it into practice, day after day. Well, it's hard. It certainly doesn't come naturally to me. Especially when it leads me to do things like commit to a bazillion mile charity walk on the grounds that it will help me finally uncover my inner athelete only discover that I do not actually have an inner athelete, at all. Never did have. Not looking good for getting one any time soon.
So Populucious has been struggling a bit over the last few months. She signed up for a class, called Passion Search, which she hoped would provide some lightening bolts of guidance about what she ought to do when she grows up (any day now). Perhaps there'd be tests, and she take one, and they would tell her, WOW, you should so obviously become a certified accountant, and she would go out and do that thing. The class has been cool, no question, but no life altering lightening bolts, and no test certified commands for the future.
Meanwhile Populucious hasn't been going to see many movies, and those she does see, well, she hasn't always felt like she had much to say about them. She's also been watching plenty of teevee, but again, not much to say. Is it the movies, and the teevee, which are uninspiring? Or is it something else? Like so many things, Populucious just doesn't know.
There has been one thing that's been getting this gal really excited lately. Well, for quite some time, actually, and that is politics. I suppose there's nothing particulaly unique about that. Doesn't matter what side you were on, that was one heck of an exciting election.
Populucious discovered something in the last year of electoral madness, something she didn't realize she still had in her: Faith in the political process. An awe for this crazy, loopy country we call home. Belief that people, plain ordinary people, can change things for the better.
For a chick that has always prided herself on her pragmatic, cynical point of view, this year has been something of a mind fuck, to be honest. My own life's a bit of a mess right now, but as far as this country goes? I have (yeah, I'll say it) hope. I am cautiously optimistic about our future.
And so Populucious is going to Washington. DC, that is. Frozen puddles and nervous Metro drivers. I'm going to the Inauguration. I'm going to fight the crowds, and stand in the cold, and worry about the location of the nearest Porta Potty. I have no tickets for bleachers, or passes to balls. I will be standing on the Mall, likely so far away from the action that even my camera zoom lens wont be able to make out what's going on.
But I'm going, because I want to be a part of this crazy, loopy madness. I want to witness history. I want to embrace this lovely, hopeful, cautiously optimistic person I've found inside me and reward her for her perserverence.
So tune in for Inaugural coverage from Populucious next week! I'll be Tweeting and blogging and whatever else I can come up with.
And thanks, my five or six loyal followers. You're awesome.