the meaning of life

a lot of thought cycles have been devoted recently to thinking about what i want to do when i grow up.  i guess it’s normal at this stage in life to start processing the whole, “what do i want my legacy to be?”  do i want it to be about the work i’ve performed?  do i want it to be about race palmarès?  do i want it to be about how well i raised my son?  and the thought hit me that once i’m gone, what does the past really matter?  why do we dwell on those things or look to build up a collection of events, awards, items, etc?  i think the more we look to the past, the less time we have to focus on what is still to come.  so, i decided that i want to live a life where i’m excited for the many opportunities and adventures that lay ahead rather than dwelling on the failures,  ‘what ifs’ and accomplishments of the past.

soundtrack for this post
hipsters fever ray
lick when i grow up
wax fever ray
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common ground

one of the most noticeable things that has come of this media fast is how conversations have shifted.  two items have caught my attention when talking with people.  first, i’m out of the loop on media events.  i find it humorous and rewarding when someone says, “hey, did you hear about this thing?”.  i’m finding that the finite energy that i have is not being caught up in thinking, processing or regurgitating these stories, which, in all reality, have no bearing or value in my life.  it is very freeing, knowing that i know nothing of the latest atrocity that the media wants you to dwell upon or latest crisis that you MUST worry over.

second, conversations have ceased to revolve around pop culture and television references.  instead, the theme of most conversations has shifted to telling stories, sharing ideas and working on problems.  this has given me the opportunity to get to know some of the people i spend a good deal of time with even better than before.  i’m realizing just how valuable the time spent with those people is and what a waste it is to spend entire sessions talking about ‘pants on the ground’ or something equally inane.

the common ground now is life, how we experience it and how we share it.  that, right there, is a good foundation for building on.

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hipsters david byrne
lick like humans do
wax look into the eyeball

encouragement

i received a compliment the other day that took me by surprise.  i was running with a friend for the first time in close to two years and was complimented on how well i had climbed a tough hill.  this friend is a very talented runner and was usually in the top of the women’s field at all of the local ultra races.  the compliment was surprising, articulate and very humbling.  coming from someone who’s talent i thoroughly respect made it doubly welcome and impactful.  throughout the rest of the day i was on an ego high and feeling confident and powerful.  it was amazing to me how powerful our words can be and how much we need people around us to encourage us.  there is amazing strength in a tight-knit and positive support group.  from running, to work, to family, those words of encouragement can be a key component for fueling our goals and ambitions.

soundtrack for this post
hipsters fever ray
lick dry and dusty
wax fever ray

ideas

i spent the day thinking about ideas, concepts, encapsulated philosophies, etc.  just what sort of ideas do i have?  where do they come from?  what do i do with them?  who do i share them with?  that last question spawned a whole train of thought that i wanted to write down.

in my experience, i have rarely come across relationships with men where ideas are discussed at length; where every meeting with the other party was prefaced by a desire to bring something interesting to the conversation.  i can count on one hand the men in my life that have made me think.  no, strike that.  men who have made me WANT to think.  men who made me want to hold on tight to ideas, cultivate them and then present them for discussion.  men who’s own ideas have set my own mind’s wheels in motion.

three men come to mind, in particular.  it was fascinating unpacking those relationships and what about each man made my mind feel sharper, changed how i perceived my reality, in some cases challenged what i considered normal and in all cases made me, what i considered, a better person.

hipsters nick cave & the bad seeds
lick hiding all away
wax abattoir blues / the lyre of orpheus

hibernating, in a cave, yo

life has a funny way of generating serendipitous events.  repete mentioned that he was going on a media and social networking fast for the month of february.  talk like that always sparks my interest.  his whole purpose behind the move is to free up some space for his own original ideas to percolate.  always a fan of shutting stuff off and simplifying, i asked if he wanted some solidarity in the task.  you know, so that when one of us is just jonesing to tweet that our most recent dump came out in the shape of a mountain lion, we can then talk one another off the ledge.

i’m in a phase in my life where i have a heightened sense of what is going on around me and paying more attention to the doom & gloom scenarios, political agendas, financial situations, etc.  gone are the days of carefree youth and i will occasionally get the pangs of panic when the thought of some certain catastrophic event is presented to me by either an over-active imagination or over-hyped media.  now, i know that there’s nothing new under the sun and our parents weathered equal doom & gloom at some point, too.  it’s just that my head is just ready to explode with all the worry that is constantly shoved into our collective faces.  you know what, though?  nearly every sensationalized swine-flu-esque catastrophe that we are beat over the head with rarely materializes.  i’m tired of it.  i’m tired of the panicked reality that others are trying to create for me.

so, i’m totally down.  i’m on board.  i’m tuning in, turning on and dropping out, as it were.  i’m going to let my mind wander.  i’m going to dream.  i’m going to think my own thoughts.  i’m going to explore my own mind for a while.  i’m going to trust that the world will keep on functioning for a month without my focused attention.

as luck would have it, the grammys were on last night, so i opted to pick up a new book instead and crawl into bed and read for a bit.  and, as luck would have it, tuesdays with morrie was next on the reading list.  within a couple of pages, morrie was saying something along the lines of, “if your culture isn’t presenting you something that you agree with, make your own culture”.  i think this is an apropos start to the fast.

hipsters doves
lick ship of fools
wax kingdom of rust