What does “epic” mean to you? In these days of overused hyperbole, like ” extreme” when describing things as mundane as hobbies, and “decadent” when describing chocolate desserts, and “incredible” when describing a good experience, seeing the word “epic” at the ski lift gave me pause. ” What makes you “epic”?” The sign at the entrance to the chair lift begged for an answer laced with hyperbolic adjectives. I came up blank. Watching my 3 sons fly down the expert slopes looked epic to me, but nothing I did in the 3 days of our skiing felt epic. Then I began to think of the word in terms of a continuum, rather than a one time description. One could say that gathering all 3 of our peripatetic sons for a 4 day vacation, skiing effortfully down the expert slopes to keep up with my sons, and having a fairly smooth vacation with our whole family was “epic”, but that would be a relative use of the word. Herein lies my point. What if we thought of epic as it applies to us, our circumstances and that messy thing that we call our everyday lives, with all its zigs and zags?
Maybe you had an epically good day, when all went right. Maybe you had an epic battle for sleep the previous night, but went to work, or babysat grandchildren in spite of that? Maybe you had or are having an epically difficult time raising children, but they’re doing well or heading in the right direction at this point in time? What if we reframed our minor and major victories with mundane or common events as really epic, instead of lucky?
I remember when my boys were small and each thought he was the best athlete on his respective team. This inflated sense of their ability began to wane around age 9 or 10, when they began to get a more realistic sense of their talents. I remember being relieved, along with being a little sad that this signaled the next stage of development, marked by a more accurate sense of self. As we age, we can either feel that the ship of doing anything epic has sailed, or that the tasks that formerly were easy, but now consume more time and energy, are epic in and of themselves.
So, maybe it’s time for a reframing of what you accomplish In a day. Just as I took Park City Mountain Resort’s invitation to name what I do as epic, I’m inviting you to re-frame some of your life’s activities as epic. It’s one way to allow yourself to stop and think about the effort and meaning you infuse into your chosen way of life. There are many other ways, of course, including meditation, journaling, and even having heart-to-heart talks with loved ones.
Tomorrow may be an opportune day to be reflective, since we’ll all be snowbound. What might you do that’s epic?