During the first mile of my long run this weekend, I saw a quote hand painted on a storefront window.
Usually, during my runs, I just take in the sights and try to let my mind wander. But on this run, that quote started to get stuck in my brain.
It burrowed and poked at me. By mile 6 I didn't even hear my tracker tell me I'd gone 6 miles because I was so focused on the words.
"Be the reason someone smiles today."
At first glance, it seemed like a nice sentiment, and could be read as another way of saying "be nice to one another."
It also struck me as a bit of a good omen since I'm running the Boston Marathon with Team Forsyth and our (unofficial) motto is #MilesForSmiles.
And yes, it's rather nice to make someone smile -- in fact, it is one of my favorite passtimes. But the reason? The sole reason for someone ELSE to smile?
That's where the quote started to rub me wrong and burrow in my brain.
In case you haven't noticed, I'm a writer and editor, and so, it only seems fitting that while running I started to edit this quote in my head.
My pass at revising the quote went something like this:
"Help someone smile today."
But that felt weak. And the crux of the quote that was gnawing at me was missing -- the word "reason."
By mile 8, "reason" made it's way back into the sentence as: "Know the reason someone smiles today."
But, that was so journalistic of me, I decided. I'm a fact-finder by nature, but sometimes you can't know the reason someone else is smiling. And, wouldn't it be super creepy to have someone like me always asking "so... what are you smiling about?" Yes, yes it would be super creepy. I just shuddered thinking about it.
I generally try to find out if I can, but we don't always need a reason to smile. In fact, sometimes the best reason a person is smiling, is due to no reason at all -- it just happens.
By mile 9.5 the quote became: "Be the reason you smile today."
It took me 9.5 miles to figure it out, but that sentence, my edited version of the quote I saw in the store window, is my running rule number one.
It sounds corny and sappy and sentimental and all the things I loudly argue that I am not... but when it comes down to it, that should be the reason we do anything.
Do it because it makes you happy.
Go ahead -- give me a hard time about being sappy and sentimental. I can take it.
Don't run (or exercise) because you have to: Do it to make yourself happy.
Make yourself happy first. Worry about everyone else second.
I deserve it, don't you think? So do you.
Also, don't tell anyone I'm sappy or sentimental. It will ruin my street cred.