I woke up at 6:12 am that morning, three whole minutes of sleep my peepers missed because my internal alarm clock failed me, though according to The Price Is Right rules, would have probably won me the Showcase Showdown. (I would know, I won it my freshman year of college.) A boat. A hot tub. Scariest movies of all times. Seriously, stop asking me about it. Needless to say, I was out of bed, sleepy-eyed and in mad pursuit of my mornings not-so-impressive Goliath in the form of Runyon Canyon. I hike approximately three to four times a week to try and have Mother Nature's voice injected into my Los Angeles, glitz-and-glam lifestyle.
So, halfway up the steepest part of the hike, I saw a guy who had previously passed me but like the tortoise and hare motto we're taught in second grade, my steady stride had caught up with his huffing and puffing. His slowed jog and my ambitious walk intersected and as I passed him, I patted his back and said, "You got this." I cranked my fast-paced walk into overdrive and took off for the heart-racing challenge set before me. After several minutes, my heart, lungs and muscles were shooting painful shrapnel throughout my body in hopes of slowing me down. As my motivation was losing the battle, the same man I had patted on the shoulder caught up to me and like a gulp of inspiration, slapped me on the back and said, "You got this girl. Pick it up and finish strong." His uncanny resemblance to my father may have played a factor, but his compassionate smile provided instantaneous protection and shields from my own discouragement.
Together we ran the last 20 yards with a new-found enthusiasm and commitment. We high-fived at the top, both unable to catch our breath; simultaneously sucking in air alongside the beautiful view overlooking the Hollywood sign and the sleepy City of Angels awaking on her own time. "Well done," he said and he walked off with a content expression of "sufficient self-pushing" for the day. No name exchange, no conversation, no explanation. I sat there with a permasmile, first out of sheer relief that I hadn't thrown up and secondly because it felt good. Sounds simple, I know. But it feels good to contribute to someone's life, to have someone contribute to your experience and in doing so, make each other better.
I know we are all busy, that technology has afforded us all these luxuries to juggle 113 things at the same time, but I also hope in our insatiable pursuit of productivity, we don't lose our ability to invest in each other and recognize the importance of taking a moment to share 20 yards with a stranger that leave you both smiling. Life is about the details, the virtually invisible nuances that evade most people's attention and yet when we overlook those precious nuggets, we tend to miss the point.
I woke up three minutes early, but looking back, those three minutes may have been the perfect pocket of time to remind me that people matter and we have the ability to make each other better even in the smallest way. My suggestion for the day is this - smile at a stranger, give a unwarranted compliment, leave an extra two dollars on the tip or hold the door for the person behind you. I think we could all use a little inspiration, so allow me to start by saying, "You got this." Whatever challenge life has presented you today, here's my virtual pat on the back and emphatic encouragement that in spite of wanting to give up, settle or quit, what awaits you amidst your Goliath, is worth it so, "Pick it up and finish strong."
Images courtesy of Thebeatofyounglosangeles.blogspot.com, Knispo-guide-to-stock-trading.com