Life Lessons From the 118th Boston Marathon

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I’m always struck by how a community always seems to rally together in the face of tragedy. A terrorist act that is designed to instill fear, instead, most often seems to bring out the best in people: courage, strength, and a unity to be reckoned with.

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Boston is no exception, and I had the pleasure – the honor – of experiencing it for myself this week. Last year’s cowardly act at the Boston Marathon by two misguided souls was intended to leave the city in fear. But to what I imagine would have been the bombers’ dismay, it did not. Instead, the city rallied together, choked back their justified anger and decided something different, something better:

Love is stronger than hate. And it’s louder too.

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This year, at the 118th Boston Marathon, the city stood up, laced up their shoes, and rose to run again.

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After the attacks last year, my husband, Ted, decided to be among those who ran to honor the fallen, the people of Boston, and the running community in general.

What’s more: he wanted to be a stand for courage. No, not fearlessness. Courage. For courage is not the absence of fear, but rather it is the ability to act in the face of it.

My friend Scott and I cheered Ted on, driving from mile 6 to 19 to 23 to be there to encourage him – and everyone else – to keep on running.

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And boy, did they ever.

As you can imagine, I couldn’t help but to get philosophical in the face of so much emotion, so much love, so much strength of character. I found myself thinking about the people who had lost their lives, and the hundreds of people who lost their limbs, some of whom are still living with shrapnel in their bodies from the blasts of the home made bombs.

It doesn’t seem at all fair. But as I’ve learned time and again, life isn’t fair. And I don’t mean that negatively. I just mean that life’s job is not to be fair. And you shouldn’t expect it to be. If you do, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of pain.

As much as I hate to admit it, we are not designed nor destined to live forever. We are all going to die one day. And unfortunately we have no control over the circumstances under which we will leave this earth.

So the best thing we can do is to make a choice. Choose to live the best possible life that we can. And in the face of tragedy should we have to face it, allow ourselves the time to grieve, but don’t allow the tragedy to claim more lives than it has already by letting it take us too. If we let it, it will drown us in its sorrow, killing our soul long before our body leaves the planet.

For reasons unknown to me, my life has been spared thus far. Yes, I’ve experienced pain and sorrow, but I’m still alive, well, and healthy. I’m capable. I have the ability to make choices, not to let the past hold me back from my future. I can effect positive change in the world, and I can choose to do so every day.

If you’ve been feeling uninspired lately – and even if you haven’t – it’s good to remember that by the mere fact that you are alive, there is nothing but possibility in front of you. So live the life you dream of. How?

Here are 10 questions to ask yourself that may help. Write out the answers and see what you come up with:

1.What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? Are you doing it? If not – how can you do more of it?

2. When it comes to your career, are you doing what you love to do? Or, are there elements of what you are doing that you love that you can focus on? Is there anything you can change to make you love your job and your life more?

3. Who do you love most in your life? Are you making time for those people? Do they know how much you love them? Tell them. Call them, or write them a note, an e-mail, a text. Whatever works. Don’t wait. Just do it now. And start making time for them if you haven’t already.

4. Are you effecting positive changes in the world around you? This includes yourself, your immediate family and friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, and anyone you encounter in your day: the cashier at the grocery store, the person waiting behind you in line, the nice person making your latte in the morning at your favorite coffee spot. By being nice to them, you create a domino effect, making them feel good, causing them to pay it forward to the next person. Imagine that: the power of a single kind gesture in a mere moment can literally positively effect hundreds of people you don’t even know. That’s magical. And remarkably easy! Sometimes all it takes is a smile, a please, and a thank you.

5. How do you think your friends, family and co-workers would describe you? Do you like that definition? If not – what behaviors can you change in order to be described as the person you want to be?

6. Are you doing the best you can to live in the moment, to live for the now? How?

7. Are you taking anything or anyone for granted? If so – what steps can you take to begin to appreciate those things, those people, those moments? Do it today.

8. Have you laughed yet today? If not – do! Laughter is medicine for your soul. Need some help? This video always makes me laugh:

9. Is there anything holding you back from going after something you want? Maybe it’s a limiting belief that you’re not wise enough, strong enough, rich enough. Maybe it’s a physical ailment. Whatever it is – can you find a way to overcome it?

10. When is the last time you stepped outside your comfort zone? If it’s been a while, maybe today is the day to step out onto that ledge and jump, trusting that the road will rise to meet you.

Remember – every day, innocent lives are lost for reasons that are never fair, never understood, and never justified. So what will you do today to honor those fallen souls, to honor those who no longer have the choices that you do?

Choose love. Choose better. But whatever you choose, choose to live the life of your dreams.

And Boston?

Long may you run. Long may you run.

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#BostonStrong

*Note: See below for a montage of pictures from the marathon, but also, from the Boston Memorial set up at the Boston Public Library in honor of those who lost lives and limbs at the 117th Boston Marathon.

Love, love, love,
Lauren
xxx

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Ted meditating at the finish line the night before the race

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Ted being interviewed by News Channel 7 at the finish line the night before the race

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Ted getting ready for the race the morning of the big day!

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Ted at Mile 23

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Ted at mile 19

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One more kilometer!!

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Goal accomplished! Ted’s medal after completing his first ever Boston Marathon!

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Hugging my hubby after his big race :)

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Me, Ted and Scott post race in the Boston Public Gardens

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We just can’t get enough of each other. Obviously.

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Making friends with fellow marathon runners. Anyone in an orange jacket was an automatic friend :)

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Outside the Boston Public Library: We Run Together.

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The Boston Public Library, where we went to see the Boston Memorial

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No words needed…

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Shoes left by Bostonians at the scene of the crime last year – moved into the memorial here at the library

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#Boston Strong

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“There is no food so small that it cannot leave an imprint on the world.”

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King

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Messages from people around the world to Bostonians…

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6 comments

  1. Lauren this is so awesome! I wish I’d known you were going, it would have been great to make the trip and see you guys and even meet Scott. My Mother in law lives near the finish line and I could have zipped up on the train. Well maybe it is good that I didn’t know or I might have just invited myself into your little group. I love that the event went so smoothly and showed such strength and resolve. Risa is recovering well and sends her love.

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    • Peter! Oh my goodness – I didn’t even think to let you guys know we would be coming! I had no idea it would have been so close for you guys!! But fear not – Ted plans to run next year, so we can plan it better then :) Please send my love right back to Risa and let her know we are thinking of her! And sending my love to you too! xoxo

      Reply
  2. Love, Love this Lauren! Thank you. You are a great writer! Keep it coming…please!

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    • Thank you so much, Christina! You are so sweet! xoxo

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  3. Great insight, outlooks, photos and sharing of this experience. So glad to have read it and get the chance to witness Teddy’s run in the Boston marathon. Big love to you both and thank you for expressing all of your emotions about it.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Troy!! Big love right back to you, Craig, and Finley!! xoxo

      Reply

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