Dear little Robinskie,
Things will get real. Really good, really challenging, and really overwhelming. Divorce is real. Death is real. Resilience is stronger. Your backbone is powerful and steadfast. You get it from your momma.
Start before you’re ready. Two weeks after quitting your legal career and successful law firm gig, you’ll book a flight costing more than rent to the London Olympics, on a gut instinct. That trip will change your life.
For a kid who forged notes to get out of gym, you’re going to run a lot – a dumb amount. It’s going to become your life’s work as an Ambassador of Sweat and ultramarathoner to run more miles than your little brain can compute. You will redefine who an athlete is and help others do it, too.
You’ll decide to run five marathons in five days to raise money for multiple sclerosis research. It will change you. That person who said you run “funny” in 6th grade is an a**hole. You curse a lot. That won’t change. And it’s all good.
Happy is something you DO. Create yourself every moment. You and only you are responsible for your happiness. Life is happening now, now, now.
1. Trust your struggle.
The path to success is circuitous. And it’s juicy. Enjoy the iterative process of the journey.
2. Write your story using fear as fuel.
Does it get your blood pumping? Does it make you nervous? Then that’s the challenge you were meant to encounter. Own the pen to the story you’re writing. Your passions are not accidental. Pursue them.
3. Listen to the little voice inside.
You’ll be a corporate lawyer until you’re not.
You’ll be into eating meat until you’re not.
You’ll be in love until you’re not.
You’ll be sad until you’re not.
You’ll be rejected until you’re embraced.
Meet your emotions where they are. Honor them. It all passes.
The little voice inside that said you could live alone in New York at 17 years old was right. It’s still your happy place.
4. Endorphins are better than Botox.
Your body unlocks passion and potential. Honor it with sweat. Create laugh lines. Screw the stretch marks you’ve had since puberty. They are your warrior stripes.
Your body will do such amazing things that you’ll no longer mind those chicken pox scars. You won’t even mind when your pancreas stops producing insulin, suddenly leading to a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis. In fact, it’s going to make you feel so full of gratitude that you’ll be happy for a lifetime of not a single ailment, hospital stay, or broken bone.
The key to your power is the flame in your belly.
5. Superheroes are real.
Seek those who fan your flames. Surround yourself with people who make you proud and humbled in their presence. Your mom really is always right.
6. Get lost. Find yourself.
You will travel the world, get lost, find yourself, and leave pieces of you from Africa to Turkey. The best walnut ravioli you will ever have is in Florence down the little side street with no name that you discovered drunk on red wine. Savor it.
7. Let things go. You have to put what weighs you down to fly.
You’ll pick up baggage on these travels, the bad kind, the abrasive stuff that makes people jaded.
Put the bags down. Those wounds are not your story. Ask yourself: will this matter in a month, or a year? A decade? Lighten your load.
You are not baggage claim.
8. Hold on to your Porch Swing Posse.
There are only a handful of people who you’ll imagine sitting with you in silence on a porch swing. They are everything. You like to be right. But you’ll love them more. Have enough ego strength to say “I’m sorry.” In business and in life, relationships are IT.
9. Do epic sh*t.
For example, and in no particular order:
Belly laugh. Jump off cliffs (literally, like that time in Brazil). Shatter limits. Embrace the insatiable curiosity that keeps you up at night. Eat cherries. Dance until you’re delirious, even in the living room. Listen to lots of 90s hip hop. It never gets old. Save your mixtapes. Stay up for sunrise. That never gets old either. Call your mother.
10. Fail. Big.
Failure means progress. The people who haven’t failed, haven’t lived. Experientially, it’s rough, but that’s where the good stuff lies.
Girl, you’re in for a real life Choose Your Own Adventure. Make it spectacular. Manifest thoughts into things with action.
Sit on the porch swing in 50 years with salacious, powerful, inspiring, goose bump-inducing stories to tell. Learn the power of “no.” Own your “yes.”
Above all, do more of what makes you happy. Sometimes, it really is that simple.
Robin Arzon is a corporate lawyer turned Ambassador of Sweat, running coach, cycling instructor, and ultramarathoner. A former social media producer for Nike Women, coaching athletes is my passion. SHUTUPANDRUN, her blog, is for athletes who think medals are the highest form of Bling. Fueled by the ethos that there is no finish line, her life’s mission is to redefine, reform, and rethink possibility through movement. For more about a life lived in sweat, visit www.robinarzon.com or follow @RobinNYC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!