"Why Can't You Just Sit Still?"

I was asked that question a lot, as a child. I came out of the womb looking for something to get into, always bouncing between six different activities, my biggest fear in life being boredom. I was a little entrepreneur: selling friendship bracelet to kids too lazy to make their own; and hosting a cookie/lemonade boutique at my mother's yard sales. I was a pint-size time-share program seminar: "Why would you buy a refrigerator magnet when I will make you one to your specifications and sell it to you cheaper?"

I took dance lessons, piano lessons, played softball and basketball, was the class president in the fifth grade, tried to start a school newspaper during my appendectomy recovery, tried to organize a 3rd grade-wide girls dance routine.  By gosh, I was on track to take over a third-world country by the time I entered high school.

....and then there were boys and drivers' licenses in high school, and my world domination plans were a little derailed.

But then my insatiable curiosity, FOMO, and YOLO tendencies built back up to epic proportions in my adulthood. That's why I now know what it's like to have baboons try to steal my camping equipment, and what it's like to live on the top bunk of a bus on a bluegrass music tour, and what it's like to be bathed as an adult by a topless Turkish woman. 

I just feel like we shouldn't fall quietly asleep at the end of life, but we should look more like this:

End of Biathlon at Sochi Olympics 

Spent. Exhausted. Literally can't go on anymore. Doesn't that sound more fun?!?

It's why I ran a marathon, it's why I do weird things like this, and it's why I finally decided to join the military (more updates on that to come soon, I'm still in the paperwork phase of becoming a Naval officer. Because what else would I do immediately after finally finishing grad school? Sit? But that sounds boring, mom

It's why I identify with people like Peter Savodnik who wrote in Condé Nast Traveler,

"in the age of microcomputers and synthetic nervous systems and genetically altered puppies, I am rendered nearly drunk with joy when confronted with the possibility of getting lost or losing my balance."

 (he went on to describe an experience of watching mini vans race across an icy lake in Russia. At one point, a spectator states "When the ice cracks, perhaps we will be in the wrong place," to which he replied, "This is good." I've loved him ever since.)

And it's why I like to think of myself kind of like Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, when he recounted his major victory during the Civil War, and explained, "I had, deep within me, the inability to do nothing.”


Except instead of being fearless in battle, I just have the inability to do nothing, you know, on a typical Thursday evening. I will go forth and be social within the throngs of this city, or I shall die trying, so help me!

Ok, maybe it's more accurate to liken myself to this guy, instead:

 
Hilarious dog at race start


Freaking out to just get started already, while everyone else is all "what is your problem?!"

I feel you, overly excited puppy dog. I feel you.

Anyway, as I was recently hanging with friends, I casually mentioned that before I left work that day, I had:

A. signed up to be part of a Flash Mob dance
and
B. joined a 1,000 mile relay race.*

To which my friend Sean simply closed his eyes, exhaled defeatedly, and started to reply with "...wha?....Why can't you just be?!"

And sometimes, I wonder that too. Like when I find myself going directly from replying to an email from my Navy recruiter about the fact that I do not, for the last time, have tuberculosis; to running to the ladies room to snap a quick profile photo for a charity website (I mean, it was the only place I could quickly identify that had a white background and enough seclusion to take a quick selfie at work...); to calling the humanitarian law expert that I was supposed to interview for the Red Cross blog; to running back to my computer to hit "purchase" on that baby shower gift. ...Or was it wedding gift? ...Crap, I hope that baby likes fondue sets....

Yes. Why can't some of us just sit still for once? Is it an undiagnosed disorder? Do we have a fear of silence? I really do intend to create more margins in my life, but then I keep getting distracted by all those things that may not come around again, people!

I was recently trying to simply plan a running date with a boy and I kept going back to him with the small windows of time I had in between all the other silliness I'd committed myself to. He finally replied with "Ah yes. I am not so encumbered :) Perhaps next time."

Sigh. I need to get less...cumbered.

Maybe I should make that a late New Year's resolution....

...as soon as I finish that next half marathon...and see that Elephant Polo match overseas....



*For details on that 1,000 mile relay (and to see a photo of me that may or may not have been taken in a womens' bathroom), visit http://runnowrelay.org.

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