Physical Possibility

Joy Johnson on physical possibility
Joy Johnson (

“People always ask me why I run. Each run I took every single day was guaranteed to be different. For all those years, all those days began with the most beautiful thing in the world. Possibility. It sounds simple I know, but trust me, it is the very best part of being alive. Never knowing what the next step will bring.” – Joy Johnson

From 1989 through 2013, Johnson completed twenty-five consecutive New York Marathons, the last one at age eighty-six. She fell during the race and sustained some cuts to the side of her face, but finished and made her annual visit to The Today Show the following morning. She then returned to her hotel room, fell asleep and never woke up.

Anyone who bought a Powerball ticket in the past week can empathize with Joy Johnson. Knowing the astronomical odds, I doubt most people truly expected to win. But they were entranced by the dream of possibility.

When Johnson first took up running at the age of fifty-nine, she discovered a whole new realm of possibility. We face possibility every day. Sometimes, it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning. And living a physically active life opens up an entirely new set of possibilities. We can engage the opportunity to run faster, hike farther, balance longer or lift heavier. That’s not to say that physical possibilities are more important than mental, emotional or interpersonal possibilities. But if there’s any truth to Johnson’s words, it makes sense to explore possibility in all its manifestations and to make our next step the most beautiful thing in the world.