As many of you know, in the weeks leading up to Christmas Anami started pressuring me to agree to do the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon with her this year. On January 1st, after running five miles of hills in beautiful sunny Clifton [some of you will appreciate the irony of that statement more than others], I caved. So now I guess I'm in training.
It's so weird. I'm reading running magazines, and finding them interesting and fun. I'm running - sometimes, without Anami. Sometimes, in the rain. Sometimes, without Anami in the rain. I'm keeping a running journal. I can tell you where I've run, for how long, how far, and what I was thinking about, going back to December 19. That's actually one of the reasons I'm posting here. Reflection there, begets reflection here. I've started to think about distance differently. And about time. I've started using words like fartlek and thinking that I could probably really shave some minutes off my 5K time if I decide that I care, which I probably won't.
All of this, actually, is intimately (though perhaps not obviously) connected to my process of New Year's reflection. It seems like the weeks leading up to and including last weekend have been filled with lots of little bits of pushback. Tiny signifiers that it was time for me to give some consideration not just to what I need to do next, but to what I'm doing now. As I reflected Saturday morning, it became clear to me that I'm doing a lot of things at a much higher intensity level than I care to, and other things not so intensely. I identified a lot of places where I let the idea of accomplishment overcome my sense of fun, creating what is in me a quite unnatural drive. I considered my tendency towards intellectual introspection and diletantism, and I decided that I really like those parts of myself.
This year, I'm embracing my inner dabbler, and we'll see where that takes me. Currently, it's running. Who knows where the winds will blow next?
Reflecting on the question, "So, what do I want? How badly do I want it? What, in short, do I really care about?" I made the following list on one of those tiny scraps of paper they have at the library for you to write down Dewey Decimal numbers on.
I want to be a good husband, and in time, a good father. Martial arts are cool; I want to be cool. I don't honestly care about being able to beat people up. I want to increase my commitment to pacifism. I want to find stillness. And joy. I would like to climb again, in a gym or outdoors; anywhere I can. I don't need to be a Buddhist Monk, to be enlightened, to achieve. I need to feel the well of compassion. And I need to feel forgiveness.
So there you have it folks. I'm a sucker and a dilettante and a pseudo-mystical, quasi-intellectual poseur, and I'm ok with that. So you with your schedules and your calendars and your commitments, you with your responsibility and books that need finishing and your deadlines, you with your worldliness and your Joneses* and your outrageous gas prices. To you I say:
Bring it on.
* Here of course I mean, "Keeping up with the Joneses", rather than any real-world family named Jones. Please avoid confusion; I know a real-world family named Jones that I like rather much. I would hate for you to think that I find them somehow unpalatable or adversarial.