My 7km run through the wilderness to have tea with Madonna.
wind 2km W
pressure 101.4 kPa steady
Distance traveled 30.5 NM Location Baie Eternite
As I was running through the woods of the Appalachian mountains out in the middle of nowhere at 6 am on my way to have tea with Madonna, I realized that it had been way too long since I was out in the wilderness like this. It took me 48 minutes to trek the 3.5 km with 1100’ of elevation change,
over one side of the mountain, and half way down the back side to get to her location. The great thing about going this early was that there was no one else on the trail. It was cool enough that there were no bugs. Only the odd red squirrel and what appeared to be a dwarf grey bunny with short ears. Quite different from the larger brown rabbits we had at home. Once I made it to the other side,
I read the little plaque telling the story behind the statue of the Madonna and how it got there. I also spent some time taking in the breathtaking view out over the river and across the landscape. It gave me some time to reflect and imagine what it might have been like to go through that ordeal. Among other things, like…
Why are we here?
When I say ‘we’ I mean the ‘Royal we’, as in all of us, humanity. There is an entire universe out there. A tiny little planet in this tiny (relatively speaking) little galaxy amongst trillions of other galaxies in our know universe.
And yet we are here.
Are we here to only work?
Work / Life balance has always been a big thing for me. My wife TL would say that I was a workaholic. I don’t know that I would call it that. If you love what you do, it doesn’t really feel like work. I may have worked a lot of long hours in my twenties, thirties, and even now into my forties, but i’d say I thoroughly enjoyed 80% of those working hours. The 20% I didn’t enjoy were the times that I took a step back and evaluated what I was doing and whether it was time to make a change. Sometimes it wasn’t even my choice to make a change, and that’s okay because change is good. It takes you out of your comfort zone and that is when you grow as a person. The old saying ‘whatever doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger’ has always been a key point in my philosophy of life. Another one that really clicked with me I read recently on linked in. ‘I never lose, I win or I learn.’ There’s always a positive side to every bad situation.
I guess the key to work is to try and figure out in your teens and early twenties what you are good at and what you really enjoy doing. Then try and determine a way to build that into your career choices. Just because your father and grandfather were doctors, it doesn’t mean you have to be a doctor if you like to build sculptures or paint. You do have to take initiative. No one else is going to do it for you. IF you want to be a famous painter or sculptor or race car driver or great doctor, you have to put everything into it and be the best you can be at it. There are so many kids these days that seem to give off the vibe that they are entitled to anything they want. Yet they don’t want to put in the work to earn it. They unfortunately are the ones who will be in for a rude awakening when they become adults and the few kids that did take the initiative, blow their doors off at that job interview they really wanted to land. If there is something you really love to do, put the time in to be the best you can be at it.
And that’s not to say that there won’t be work to do in your life that you won’t enjoy or may even loth doing. For example shingling a roof is at the bottom 3% of things that I like to do, yet TL and I shingled our own roof last year because it saved us a ton of money. The other benefits are that you have a sense of accomplishment when you are done, and hopefully it makes you work that much harder at the things you really do enjoy doing. Outside of that is to remember to play hard. I wouldn’t count watching TV as playing hard, but it doesn’t have to be an extreme sport either. It could be Yoga, painting, soccer, hiking, waterskiing, dancing, whatever makes you happy and keeps you active. I know too many people that literally get up, go to work for 12 hours, get home and eat crappy food because they are too exhausted to eat properly. Sit down in front of the boob tube and fall asleep, just to do it all over again tomorrow. It’s a trap that is easy to fall into.
Remember to play hard too.
Are we here to needlessly consume?
We are being programmed to be consumers from birth. For people in my generation it was TV. Saturday mornings I’d sit and veg in front of the TV for several hours watching cartoons. Each episode would be 10 – 30 minutes, and every 5 or so minutes throughout would be commercials pushing all the things for us to consume. Toys, toothpaste, kool-aid, theme parks, chips, pop (soda in the US), it was never-ending. Now it’s absolutely everywhere! Our cell phones have become our Televisions. They are on 24-7, and I’ve even witnessed kids in the 3rd grade carrying around brand new iPhones!?! I admit even my own kids, who won’t have a cell phone before high school, are still ‘Plugged in’ more than I would like. One thing that I’m really trying to teach them on this three month trip is to unplug more often and appreciate the analog – the world around us. Do things that aren’t digital, like take a walk, draw a picture, or as my mom used to say ‘go fly a kite’. We as a society are becoming the Zombies that we fear on all of those shows and movies, wandering around the streets gawking down at our phones without even looking where we are going or whether there is a car coming as we cross the street. Shouldn’t we try to be more aware, observant, mindful of our time, where we are at any given moment, what we are consuming and maybe appreciate what we already have.
Are we here to fight with each other? To kill each other?
Seems a bit counter productive to me.
What is going on in US politics right now is mind-blowing to me. It truly is scary. What is being said by certain candidates is scary, but that so many people are not thinking for themselves is terrifying. Regardless of race, religion, male or female, we are all human beings.
My grandfather passed away not too long ago, and on the day of his celebration of life my daughter read me a short story she found on Instagram I believe. I won’t rehash the entire story, but the gist of it was around the idea that we are reincarnated over and over again but that we are not bound by time as we are reincarnated. So I could be myself now and when I die I could end up being an asian girl 2000 years ago, or african 100 years from now. The premiss being that we could potentially be every person that has lived or will live. This obviously opens up a plethora of religious and philosophic discussions, but just the idea itself is what I’d like put out there. If you knew that you would have to live every life that has lived or will live here on earth. Would you treat people differently than you do today?
Are we not here to live, to appreciate life, nature, family, friends… experiences…?
Let’s make every day count. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Heading back to the boat I picked up the pace a bit and cut my return time down to 30 minutes without being too strenuous. It was one of those times I really felt in the zone. Running through the slick rocky trail, hyper focused on every foot placement to avoid wiping out on a muddy rock or tripping and falling several hundred feet over a cliff to my death. It helped clear my mind of everything else, to be in the moment, to be alive, and it felt amazing.
Thanks for the tea Madonna!
Chow for now.