I’m not particularly happy about the grey hair on my head. Or my slowing down metabolism. The wrinkles beside my eyes. My ageing hands. Or the way my knees creak when I walk up stairs.
But you know what? When I didn’t have all those things I also didn’t have the peace, happiness and an inner calm that in years gone by was a knotted mess of emotion instead. Sure, I had the look of youth and smooth skin but it didn’t matter because I was always too busy worrying about stuff to enjoy it.
You could also call it wisdom, I guess.
When I was a teenager and a young adult, I could never just sit and be. I always wanted time to pass quickly, for the next thing to be happening. I could never just sit in a moment and enjoy it. Even if I was on a beach enjoying the sunshine and relaxation, I’d still be thinking about what I was going to eat next, or how long I’d have to do that for until I could move onto the next thing.
It’s actually a really crap way to be.
Today I went for a two hour run. As soon as I started to move my legs I knew it was going to be a really enjoyable run. Sometimes they are and sometimes they just hurt. When I run I think clearly and because there isn’t anything else to do, I ponder on things and it’s always a time when I think with clarity.
I wondered today when it was that I started to enjoy being still. When did I start seeing people for who they really are and not who I want them to be, or who they once were? When did I start being happy with me and who I am? To be able to look at my past and own it rather than pretending it never existed?
I don’t really know the exact answer to any of that but it definitely happened after my complete breakdown and the day I quit drinking.
3 years of cleansing.
I would never have been able to run five years ago. I never had the patience for it. People who say they get bored running are missing the point of it. It’s supposed to be something that leaves you with you, if that makes sense.
There is nowhere else to go except into your own head and I think for many people that’s just too frightening or too painful. Hence why many people fill their lives with things that cover up feelings. Like alcohol, food, gambling. My younger self included.
But this post isn’t about addiction or depression so I won’t go there today.
Last night we had dinner with some great friends of ours. People Rob and I knew separately before we knew each other. Friends who know our stories and who even if we don’t see them for months or a year at a time, it doesn’t matter. One of them was the Best Man at our wedding and he’s stuck to his word all these years and really has been just that. Everyone needs friends like these.
I was chatting to my friend. We’ll call her Karen because that’s her name. I told her as I get older I’ve noticed there are so many angry women our age around and that I don’t get it. We wondered if it was people unhappy with where they are career wise in life, or marriage, or whatever. Whatever it is I don’t want to be one.
I truly believe that resentment is the most toxic thing for the mind and that we as humans need to avoid it at all costs. It eats at you like cancer and is completely soul destroying. I think once you can let go of resentments, layers of toxic hate wash away leaving that fresh head space that is comfortable to live with.
When my children are old enough, this is something I am going to drone into them. I think it’s hugely important in order to avoid sick emotions like jealousy. To learn to be happy for others good fortune and not to resent them for it is one of the most noble of human personality traits.
Anyway, then my run ended and I stopped thinking about all these things.
Now go and think of someone you have a resentment with and try to think nice thoughts about them. The good things about them and the times you’ve spent together. Hold that nice thought in your head for a few moments and feel the shitty feeling slip away. Whenever that resentment starts to creep back in, go back to that thought.
How easy was that?
So there you ago, musings from my complicated head on a sunday morning run.