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Spectator, No More

February 1, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, the Clinton Foundation held the inaugural Health Matters conference, a meeting dedicated to achieving health and wellness in every generation. Conducted in Indian Wells, Calif., the presentations focused on a variety of health topics, such as healthy schools, what health means to business and how to create healthy communities.

Because I work with health care companies, I kept the live web-streamed conference on in the background while I worked. Every once in a while, when a topic would grab my attention, I would stop what I was doing and focus on the presentations. During the “Achieving Lifelong Health & Well-Being Opening Discussion,” moderated by former President Clinton, I found myself stopping frequently to listen in. During this time, one of the panelists asked how America had gotten to this point — a nation of overweight people who move far too little.

Clinton was the one who answered: “We’ve become a nation of spectators.”

His point was that we’ve turned into a country of people who would rather sit on the sidelines and memorize the stats of their favorite team(s) than participate in the activity or sport itself. Maybe it’s because we’re lazy. Or because we can’t find the time to do it. Or maybe the sport is hard and we don’t want to put in the effort if we’re not going to be a famous athlete or rewarded with million-dollar paychecks. Whatever the reason, in a world where image is everything, we seem to have forgotten how to play and get sweaty and engage in a little friendly competition just because it’s fun.

The entire discussion made me wonder how many times I sit on the sidelines — not just of sports, but of life — just because I believe I can’t do something perfectly or because I find it hard. What I have I stopped myself from trying because my mind tells me it’s scary or wouldn’t be fun? Essentially, how much real living have I given up because I spend so much time rattling around in my head rather than in the world around me?

Being in the real world means taking risks. It means pushing the bounds of my reality as often as possible. It means stepping away from the computer and the TV and work to find what adventures may come. It means more hikes with Cooper and communing with nature on the beaches and in the forests. It means trying something new at least once a week, if not every day.

That day, while listening to the conference, I decided that I may never parachute from an airplane or hurtle down the side of a mountain on skinny planks of wood (I’m willing to take risks, but I’m not insane), but I will leave behind my spectator ways and create a new reality. After all, living in your head isn’t really living at all.

From → Observations

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  1. What did you do for the Super Bowl? « lovelifeinc

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