Stepping up the enthusiasm

It wasn’t long ago when I mused on the topic of being awesome inspired by a tweet from cyclist and writer Kathryn Bertine. I decided that I needed to celebrate the times which are awesome, whether it’s kicking butt at a workout or making an amazing sandwich for lunch. In fact “awesomeness” has become one of my favorite words these days and yes, I don’t care if it’s really a word or not. Maybe I am so awesome I can make up my own words.

And so it’s not surprising that Mark sent me a link to a story involving enthusiasm with the note “this sounds right up your alley.” The piece Make 2012 the Year of Maximum Enthusiasm was on the site semi-rad.com. Author Brendan Leonard urges readers to notice when something is often and to exclaim it, preferably out loud but even a mental will do. Because, as he says, “most things that make your life are amazing” and this ranges from the BIG ADVENTURES to the cool and sometimes bold things we do on our way to work in the morning. Think of it as extreme gratitude attitude. (By the way, I immediately liked Brendan Leonard when I read his bio which said “I like running and trail running, but I probably like ice cream more.” Dude, we are kindred souls.)

The key takeaway for me wasn’t just about stepping up my enthusiasm this year. It was about letting go of judgement and relativity. What holds me back from exclaiming how awesome my intervals were yesterday? Because I know my interval pace, the pace at which I’m working my hardest, would be an easy run for someone like Mark. I feel self-conscious saying something is “the best ever” because someone will disagree vehemently or I may hurt someone else’s feelings and well then, all hell breaks loose inside my mind. Leonard, however, reminds me that awesomeness isn’t objectively measured (emphasis has been added by me):

People can disagree with things like quality, maybe your taste in food, or whether or not a movie is good. But no one can argue with enthusiasm, especially when it is over the top.

Do you think that climb you just did is the greatest climb ever? Great! If someone tries to tell you it isn’t, who cares? “Greatest Rock Climb Ever” is not an objective title. Thusly, when you are excited about a climb (or a trail run or a summit view or a bike ride or a sunrise), don’t let anyone bring you down. … Enthusiasm doesn’t have to stand up to criticism. It doesn’t even have to really make sense.

So when I think I’ve made the world’s greatest pot of chili (which will happen this afternoon what with a winter storm finally arriving in Western New York) it doesn’t matter if anyone agrees. In fact, no one else has to agree. And you know what? That’s totally fine. Because I am gonna be over-the-top enthusiastic about the awesome things in my life — whether it’s my family and friends, my bread machine, my favorite bike ride, my best run or my own unique skills and talents. I’ve spent too much time in my life dwelling on what I don’t have. Perhaps an over-the-top acknowledgment of what I do have is just what the universe ordered. We willl start right now. Because that whole wheat bread I made yesterday is da bomb!

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