Marathoning and the Montage

(WAIT! Every good montage needs a soundtrack. So before you start reading, let’s set the mood.)

That’s better. Happy last day of 2012, you guys! I trust you are spending it as I am, listening to the top 40 songs of 2012 (38 of them Taylor Swift’s, god bless her) while uploading every picture I’ve taken since January so Facebook stops trying to convince me that one of my 20 biggest moments of 2012 was updating my profile picture on December 14.

I'm not saying it's a bad picture, but come on.
I’m not saying it’s a bad picture, but come on.

Given my previously documented love of montages, you’d think this would be my favorite time of year. So much reflection and review on the best of 2012, from music to memes. But you can’t just slap together a few Drunk Nate Silver tweets, set it to Call Me Maybe, and call it montage. The best montages provide narrative arc. They take your struggles and re-frame them as a necessary step on the path to greatness.

I’ve used the montage to get me through all KINDS of difficult moments. Bad date? You’re simply in the Bad Date Montage of a romantic comedy. Matthew McConaughey should be along shortly.

And oh, how we'll laugh
And oh, how we’ll laugh

Apartment a disaster? Put on a jazzy little number and you’ll be done in 4-6 minutes. The classic of the genre, however, is the training montage. And the marathon is MADE for it. We start out wheezing through our first four mile run, gulping nervously at the prospect of raising $1M. Fast-forward through a few blizzard runs, the number on our goal tracker steadily increasing, some slow-motion burrito-eating, and before you know it we’re cruising triumphantly up Heartbreak in front of cheering crowds while Eye of the Tiger plays in the background.

The reason I love montages so much is that they don’t gloss over the tough stuff. They just put it in its place. The runs that make me wonder why I didn’t decide on something nice and easy like competitive lumberjacking; the years I put $2,000 on my credit card in January and cross my fingers I raise it before May – those are what make actually managing to pull this whole thing off meaningful. So when we find a new treatment or even a cure for blood cancers, it doesn’t mean we forget the people we’ve lost or the struggle they’ve endured. It means we value the progress we’ve made that much more.

So how are you going to round out your 2012 montage? Having that ill-advised 14th glass of champagne, or making a donation to an excellent charity? (No one’s saying you can’t do both). Whatever it is, stay safe, warm, and full of shrimp cocktail. See you next year!

Love and a victorious slow-motion fist pump,



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