Be the heroine

When I was an overweight 16-year-old, I was in the poetry aisle of a Books-A-Million bookstore. I walked by Jewel’s poetry book (if you were a teenage girl in the late 90’s, you probably owned it) and in a flash, made a life-changing decision.

I was going to lose weight.

(What does that have to do with Jewel and her poetry? Nothing. I just happen to remember where I was standing.)

And in the next year, I did.

I ran every day, completely changed my eating habits — and almost 15 years later, I still love to work out and, for the most part, practice a healthy lifestyle. (Well, not this week — I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my third. Give me a few months. Or twelve.)

It was one of those strange moments where a decision just clicked inside me — and I didn’t look back. Honestly, I didn’t really think much about it. I just… did it. Because I decided to.

And though I don’t think about that year often, it instilled in me a quiet belief that I’ve never forgotten. One that has influenced my decision making and risk-taking ever since:

If you really want to do it, you can.

Lose weight. Climb a tree. Start a business. Plant a garden. Make a change.

And when I talk to friends or teenagers or my kids or, frankly, myself, I never doubt it.

The sentiment is perhaps a bit cliché — the making of a children’s story (if you’ve ordered a Chick-Fil-A kids’ meal lately, you may have received the book, The Value of Believing in Yourself: The Story of Louis Pasteur.) But it’s something that we never, ever outgrow. Not at 16, not at 30, not at 85.

And the earlier we can grasp it, the more time we’ll have… to run with it.

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

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