Well, there are countless reasons, actually. But this specific one derived from a phone convo I had had with my parents today.
I have been going running regularly for almost two years now. So, when my classmate told me she was training for a half marathon on Hawaii at the end of August, I started thinking. Wouldn’t that be a great goal to train towards, an amazing experience and a fun story to tell for the years to come?
“Aaah, back when I was 22 I went abroad for a while. Meditated in San Francisco, went surfing in LA (Tabitha, that has to happen!) and ran a half marathon in Kauai.” Sounds kinda badass, right?
I told my (American!) housemates about the idea and they loved it! Reassured me that it would be an unique experience indeed and erased my doubts of potentially not having enough time next to school to prepare for it. Encouraged me by telling me how well I was running distances already. Left me with a pretty good feeling.
Then I told my (German) parents. Their reply was a list of things I would have to consider if I’d actually pull through. “You should read up on how to train properly. And what if you get injured? Check with your health insurance, you know that the American ones don’t cover as much as the Europeans ones! Also, you need adequate equipment and it will require a consistent amount of energy. Adjust your food intake. And your water intake. Oh and by the way, how were you planning on even affording a flight to HAWAII in the first place?”
Now, notice how they never said “It’s a stupid idea”. But in all their Germaness, they pulled up an entire checklist that I’d need to fulfill to get the job done. I think Germans tend to strategize lots and lots before actually getting started on something to ensure that the outcome is not going to fail. Americans fail often and early. But if they fail, they try again. Not only do they possess the optimism to believe in their own ideas and potentials but also do they have enough positive thinking to trust in other people’s dreams too! I don’t know if I would actually pull through with the half marathon. But I do know that having people believe in me so purely and strongly motivates me on an entirely different level.
It’s not a matter of “in order to…I need to…” but rather a matter of “I believed I could, so I did!” that Americans tend to live by. And that’s the beauty of their thinking!