• Courtney Lawson

November Resolution: Be a Turkey!

The turkey is November’s spirit animal, the star of school art projects, paper napkins and seasonal tchotchkes crowding shelves across the country. However, the colorful, proud creatures donning decor are not the same as the domesticated turkeys that show up on our Thanksgiving tables. Rather, they are wild turkeys.

It's the perfect time of year to channel our inner turkeys. I'm not talking about any turkey here (note to self: honor thy position on the food chain next week), but our inner wild tom turkey. Wild male turkeys (toms) are known for strutting and other activities designed to impress the other turkeys, like puffing out their feathers and spreading their tails, as if to say, “look at me! Aren’t I healthy and strong and all-around impressive?” They exude pride. Wild turkeys are also incredibly athletic: they can fly up to a mile at a time at speeds approaching 55 mph and run faster than a galloping horse.

Great, you may be saying, but what the heck does channeling my inner wild turkey have to do with running or fitness? Read on, my feathered friends!

About a month ago, I returned from a run, feeling great. I quickly dove into my favorite cool-down activity: syncing my Garmin and uploading the run to Strava. Whew! I flew and galloped turkey-style! POOF, went my feathers. I literally strutted into the kitchen for my recovery Coca-Cola.

Then, the death scroll. I started thumbing through my friends’ activities. He went further. She went faster. This one had more elevation gain. All of a sudden, my feathers dropped. My strut became a pathetic shuffle. “I’m slow," I thought. "Out of shape. Lazy.”

Recently, I read an article about Impostor Syndrome by author David Roche, a brilliant writer who focuses on being a truly happy runner (matter of fact, The Happy Runner is the name of a book he recently co-authored with his wife; I highly recommend checking him out). It forced me to confront that nasty little voice—you know the one, The Critic, an accomplished interrupter whose raison d’etre is to make you feel like crap—saying “How do you even call yourself a runner? That’s embarrassing! It’s not enough. YOU’RE NOT ENOUGH.”

It’s not the first time I’ve been at odds with The Critic, but this time I decided to challenge it. Wrong. I am enough. Enter my Thanksgiving resolution: be a turkey. Embrace my inner wild tom. Sure, maybe I am not the fastest, strongest or fittest turkey of the bunch. But I am out there, discovering strength and resilience I had no idea was inside me. So, whenever The Critic starts yammering away, PUFF go the feathers (I am fit and strong!), POOF goes the tail (I’ve got this!) and the strut begins (I am proud of me!) It’s The Critic, not my inner wild tom, who urges comparison with my fellow turkeys. The truth is, the most important being to impress and celebrate is yourself.

So, let’s practice our wild turkey-ing together:

  • Are you planning to Gobble Wobble next week? Puff those feathers out!

  • Did you move your body today? Strut your stuff!

  • What has made you proud lately? Gobble that vociferously!

As you extend gratitude this season, make sure to thank your inner wild tom. Set him free: think about all the ways that you are awesome and enough, and gobble them loudly and proudly.

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