I try to avoid these end of the year, look back and remember type posts. I find them tedious to slog through and I often wonder if they can possibly be interesting to anyone but me. But I can't help myself as 2012 ends. It has been an awful year, or so it would seem to those of you who stop by the stable. My wife's illness in January and February, the health insurance fear, the constant financial worry, my own work changes. I've written at length about my weight loss struggles and my perceived failures. Hopefully I've also shared some of my growth, my maturation if you will, in my self understanding.
But, lets face it, I am one negative Nellie most of the time.
So, let me end this year with something different.
There is so much in my life that brings me joy. By far, the most consistent source of that joy are my children. It is a wonder to watch them grow and become their own selves. I wonder and marvel at the fact that, despite the combined mental illnesses of their parents, they seem to be well adjusted, bright, and happy individuals. They laugh. And they are goofy. And smart, and sarcastic, and quick witted and kind. Of course it isn't all smiles and lollipops, but the care these kids show for their parents and each other cannot be hidden. It is pure joy to see them interact.
My wife brings me much joy as well. It is a shame for those of you who don't know her. And it is a real shame that what I share at the stable cannot paint the whole picture. Here I share what is wrong and how I handle it. But what you don't know is how her laughter is loved by everyone who knows her, how her eyes sparkle when she is feeling good. You don't know of her humor or her fierceness and determination. I fear I often discuss her in terms of her illnesses, but I hope you all know she is so much more. I would be lost in this world without her.
Running brings me joy. I often am self deprecating and say that, since I do not run far or fast, I am not a real runner. But I cannot deny the desire I have for this sport. When I run, I feel the realness of my body. My legs pull me forward and push me onward. My lungs reach deep to supply me with oxygen. My neck sweats and my back muscles burn. I feel my own heat in my face and I want more. But more than the physical senses, I also feel the realness of my inner self. When I run, I hear all the reasons why I can't go on. I feel the eyes of every driver on the road, every fellow runner on the trail, every duffer in his driveway and I imagine their judgment that this fat old man shouldn't be doing this. And then something extraordinarily simple happens. I keep running. And I find the voice inside that quiets everything else. When I run, I escape me long enough to get to know me...if that makes any damn sense at all.
Being on this journey brings me joy. You can't tell it from what I share here. I often sound like I'm on the verge of giving up and letting go. But I have learned so much in the last 4 years about myself and what I'm capable of. Yes, from day to day I often tire of having to deny myself of food I enjoy. From day to day I often despair that I will never find success. But from the long view, I know that I have discovered such a treasure of wisdom and self awareness that I never would have found had I not deliberately started this journey.
And related to that is this silly little blog. I often fear that I don't have anything to say that anyone in their right mind wants to hear. But when I can let go of that fear and just write, I find wrapped around each sentence and clause a sense of joy and freedom of being able to describe myself and my station to not just my readers, but to myself. I have always been in awe of the written word but have never thought of myself as an author. But if I can call myself a runner though my longest run is barely over 4 miles and my pace hovers around 15 minute miles, I know I can also look at this collection of thoughts and call myself just that.
Yes, my blog centers around my struggles and perceived short comings. But just know that for every conversation with the Left Hand Guy, I am aware of a dozen or more things that are going right in my life. For every post I write about how I want to give up, I know of a score of reasons to keep plowing ahead.
Most of you who stop by the stable have your own corners of the web where you write your own journeys. Most of you, like me, write of your struggles too. So, I am just going to ask a simple question and a challenge for 2013.
First the question. What brings you joy? You can answer here in the comments if you want, or you can write your own post, or you can keep it to yourself. It can be a simple sentence, a rambling post or a single word.
And the 2013 challenge: Write about it at least once a month, either here in the comments, or on your own blog, or in your head. I'll be asking each month.
So, this is how I end 2012, with a strange little post in which I, hopefully, share with you another glimpse into the stable and offer a small challenge.
And then I'm going bowling with my daughters.
Happy New Year everyone.