Sunday, December 9, 2007

NPR - Life is interesting

It's Sunday morning (12/9/07) here in the Puget Sound. It's in the low to mid 30's and snowing everywhere, only varying on the intensity by time and place. And it's the second time it's snowed, and not sticking the first time about a week ago, but this time the ground is cold enough for the snow to stick and stay. There was frost over everything and any water was had a frozen surface.

I wanted to call this post the reality of being, but mostly it's about that fact that we are who we are and we face the world as we are, and while all the books can argue about changing yourself, there are limits to what you can do because of who you are, where you are, and what you can actually do. And that's what makes it interesting, partly looking back to where I've been and what I've done, and where I want to go and want to do.

And all the things I don't know will happen to change anything and everything. It's the reality of being in the world today. It's changing so fast we can't keep up. The best we can do is find the best of what's out there we can afford with our time and money, and keep going. While everyone seems to be in a race forward, I've chosen a side road and wandered at my pace to somewhere I have no idea what's ahead.

As they say, all I know is where I've been. And the rest is the big unknown. So much is happening around the world anymore it's a non-stop 24/7 progress to something no one knows. Whenever we think we're current you can read on the Internet that someone has improved it, replaced it or found something new to make it obsolete. Even the things we think will take some time, ok, a little time, to do this, we're surprised how short that time is.

The problem is that just standing still automatically puts us behind, at least something. And while the studies have shown humans through evolution are pretty much single tasker thinkers, we're forever bombarded with multi-tasking work and life pressures. They're everywhere and the ads seem to promote it more and more. You can really do more with less in the less time. But they forget your brain is only so fast. Evolution hasn't kept pace with technology.

And this is where I'm learning to adjust and really accept my aging body. While I started running when I was 28 I really did reach my peak until I was 48 and ever since then after stopping for a year shortly after that, I've never reached a good practice running. The body just has problems that are unrelated to running but effect it. I had a complete physical two years ago and it all pointed to simply getting older and the body slower.

Recently, when I began running after a short hiatus I got shin splints for the first time in a long time (decades) and switched to walking 6-9 miles several times a week, but while it's interesting, it's not the same. I like running and hate that I can't. My body tells me that and my mind agrees. Running isn't just about my health and fitness, it's my anti-depressant with my Dysthymia. Running keeps me from falling into the abyss of depression.

My Dysthymia was part of my genetic present from my parents and their parents. I'm not alone in my family with this, and it has been seen and expressed in others including one suicide. It's the unspoken malady our family lives with. As we all have them in our families. We don't have a history of heart problems, breast cancer, some crippling or a debiltating disease, or worse. We have this, the slow mental decline of our joy for life.

And running is my therapy. I run outdoors, no matter the weather, and usually the worse the weather the better the run and the better the sense of myself. Even in the rain of the Pacific Northwest winters. Running helps define me to know I'm alive, and in and with the world. I don't run fast, mostly a jog with intermittent short walking breaks, a concession to being older and another physical condition (heart).

I don't wear any headphones when I run. I want to hear and know the world while I'm running. Music is something for my home with my (antiquated audiophile stereo) where I can hear music as it's meant to be heard. But that's another story. I run to be in the world and in life, to let any thoughts of depression or sadness fall away along the route like the stones under foot and rain shed from the coat. And I arrive home tired and still alive.

That's a little overstating the case, but not in so much as all the rest of the things I can doesn't do as much as running. It's my simple reality. Something given me at birth and hasn't been rescinded by life. I have to sit at the table of life I've set and enjoy what's there and what will come. And make the best of what is and will be. And in the end, it's all there is, whatever is in front of us each and every moment. The rest relegates itself to history a moment later.

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