Celebrating Allen

It was the second mile when I started to think of Allen. The morning was turning brilliant, all crisp and golden as only autumn in Western New York can produce. My pace was terribly easy. Eight miles sounded like a pretty substantial distance for an easy run in just my second week back to base training, but breaking it down into smaller segments always seems to do the trick in getting through a longer workout. And for once I got it through my thick head that is was an easy paced run. It was about the distance, not about the speed. That comes on Thursday. Why rush it?

With the nitty-gritty of the run all settled, my mind floated back to Allen. Last night my colleagues at The Buffalo News put together a benefit for our co-worker Allen Wilson to help raise money to offset the financial burden of his fight against leukemia. It’s been a difficult and at times frightening road for Allen and his family. I’ve offered prayers, positive thoughts and donated karma points to him from afar. Last night, I had the chance to see him for the first time in months. He moved slowly, but he was walking. And while the disease had altered his appearance and energy slightly, he looked good. He looked alive, and not just in the physical sense.

And so on my morning run, reflecting on Allen’s road to health and the support he has from family, friends and acquaintances, I couldn’t help but feel alive myself. There’s no easy way to write about it without sounding cliche or self-centered. The night was about Allen, but it also was about friendship, about celebrating the every day and about living your best life. There will always be moments of fear, anxiety and uncertainty. There will be the proverbial curve balls the universe throws our way for reasons we may never understand.

Regardless of what the day may bring, it is my choice how I react. I have the power to choose. I have the power to create. Sometimes the choices may seem small, but it would be a mistake to confuse small with inconsequential. Every choice is meaningful and perhaps the most important choice I can make dictates my attitude. And the beautiful thing is that I get to choose not only each day, but each moment, how I want to show up in my life.

Allen is still on the road to health, still fighting leukemia on a road with twists, dead ends and u-turns. But he’s on the road to health. And seeing him Monday night, celebrating with co-workers and friends, made me want to show up to my life today with positivity, energy, trust and peace. How will you show up in your life today? Tomorrow? In the next five minutes? You get to choose that.

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