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A Reason to Rise

May 6, 2014 - Phyllis Sigal
Regular life isn't always easy. For some people, just getting out of bed, getting dressed and making their way to work isn't easy. For others, coming home isn't any easier.

And then maybe some "big stuff" comes along. A death. A birth. A divorce. A new job. Any life change can throw you for a loop, whether it's a good change or a bad change.

Then there are challenges we put on ourselves.

That's what this blog is about.

As if life isn't tough enough already, some people make it tougher. But for a good reason.

I just finished reading Cheryl Strayed's memoir, "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail."

At the age of 22, Strayed lost her mom, who was just 45 years old, to a quick and ugly lung cancer. She essentially was "orphaned" when her stepfather removed himself from her life. She and her husband, who married too young, divorced. Four years later she decided to hike more than 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert to Washington State.


Her memoir details the struggles, the rewards, the fears and the breakthroughs of her more than 100 days on the trail. She describes how she lost her way, some weight, most of her toenails and a hiking boot — but how she found so much more.

My young friend Meg Rabinowitz just finished running the Boston Marathon.

It was her first marathon, and she was part of the New England Aquarium's team. "Team Fish" raised almost $115,000 for the aquarium's outreach programs.

She had run the Boston Marathon with a wheelchair team in the past — pushing a young man in a wheelchair for a leg of the marathon. Luckily, last year, she was beyond the finish line at the time the bombs went off.

For this year's marathon, she trained and trained and trained and trained some more.

And five hours and five minutes and three seconds after she started, she finished. That's a long time to be running.

But she finished. I am so proud of her.

These two events in my life coincided — having finished the book the same week that Meg finished the race. Both of these women are inspirations.

It got me thinking.

Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

No, I'm not going to run a marathon. And I'm certainly not going to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.

But maybe I'll run a 5K or walk a half-marathon. Or buy a new house. Or get a new job. Or travel to some exotic locale. Or write a book.

Or whatever. It doesn't matter.

The important thing is to set a goal. And work toward it.

Sometimes having a challenge in our lives, a larger goal, makes life much more interesting. It sure gives us a reason to get up every morning.

I am looking for: