…to be among the few souls standing alone, on a beach like this?
Me? I’d trade my iPhone, running, bacon and cake for it. Seriously.
Eleven months ago, I wrote a post about rediscovering running and simultaneously dealing with me, old-man-me and teenage-me. If you know me, you’ll understand the potential complexity of a situation like that. (Link: http://randomgeekshui.com/running-away-from-the-old-man-me)
In it, I explained that, on November 9, 2011, I set a goal for myself. I wanted to run a 10K (scheduled for February 2012), for the first time in 10+ years. In December 2011, I ran a 5K. Then, in January 2012, I got impatient and ran a 10K. In February, I ran the 10K that was the focus of my initial goal and bettered my previous time by 3 minutes.
Recently, I went on a diet. Over the years, gravity and donuts had taken their toll. It wasn’t too painful, except for the fact that it prohibited the consumption of Krispy Kreme donuts, regular Coca-Cola, cake, cupcakes, and pretty much all other things tasty. I won’t lie. I’m a Food Pr0n guy. I love good food. I stuck to it, though. Luckily, I lost a few pounds. Then, I decided it would probably help if I started running…again.
I say ‘again’ because I used to run. I ran a lot and far. Most of my running was between 1989 and 1994. I wasn’t the fastest runner, but I wasn’t the slowest either. This and the fact that I enjoyed it motivated me to keep running. There was a bit of running from 1995 to 2000, but it was much less frequent and much shorter distances.
Then in 2001, I stopped. I didn’t run…at all…for a decade. This was a mistake. Why do I say this? It’s because by stopping running, I rapidly accelerated the rate at which the old man inside of me (aka old-man-me) was able to catch up to me.
A few weeks ago, old-man-me made his presence known again, when the Wii Fit told me that I was 50 years old. That’s right. My Mii character looked at me from the television and straight into my eye. Then, he expanded sideways. Yes, my Mii got fat before my eyes. All that was missing was an evil cackle. Though horribly offended, I knew my Mii was right. The old man me was standing right over my shoulder and breathing (albeit in a labored manner) into my ear.
Instead of wallowing in my old-man-me misery and turning off the Wii, though, I took it as a challenge. I needed to put old-man-me back in his place. As additional motivation, I registered for a 10K scheduled for February 2012. I decided that, come hell or high water, I would be ready to run it.
Then, about a week into my renewed running effort, I had a moment of clarity. In mid-stride, I remembered from where the old-man-me concept had come. I had seen the idea in a Nike ad many (many, many) years before.
Being an internet archeologist, I decided to find that ad. I wanted a digital copy of it. I was certain some kind soul had to have scanned and uploaded it to the interwebz. I searched, and I searched. Then, I searched some more. I found references to the text of the ad. I also found a couple of poorly photographed versions of it. Finally, though, I found the virtual X that marked the spot. Where did I find it? Ebay.
Yes, some dedicated Ebayer had a perfectly preserved, original specimen. Why did they have it? Where did they get it? I didn’t know, and, frankly, I didn’t care. I placed my bid, and a few days later, I was elated to learn that it was mine. (This is probably because there aren’t too many mid-30’s runners who had moments of clarity during the month of November.)
So, I forked over the $15 dollars it cost. The day it arrived, I remembered exactly what I thought, when I saw it in 1990. Teenage-me (who was lucky enough to never meet met old-man-me) thought it was funny. That ad is for old people. That will never be me.
Nearly two decades later, I found myself looking at it and realizing, it was me. Over the distant echoes of teenage-me laughing at mid-30s-me, I also realized that it didn’t have to be this way. Now, I’m running not just towards the goal of finishing my first 10K in nearly 17 years. I’m running away from old-man-me…one mile at a time. Don’t get me wrong. He seems like a nice guy, but it’s not time for us to become BFFs, yet.
Of course, since this gem of an artifact didn’t exist on the interwebz, I took it upon myself to scan and post it here. If it helped me fend off my old-man-me, it might help someone else fend off their old-man/lady-me.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go run. Old-man-me is somewhere behind me waddling toward me, with a donut in his hand.
They say television will rot your brain. That may be true for the most part, but once in a great while, it actually reminds us of something important about life. Torchwood did that for me today.
I’ve been trying to catch up on the first few seasons that I missed and made it up through Season 1, Episode 9 (Random Shoes). The episode was interesting, as usual, with the twists and turns one expects from a typical Torchwood episode.
It wasn’t until the very end, though, that I realized what the whole episode was about. Actually, I should say that it wasn’t until the very end that the episode’s character, Eugene, grasped me firmly by both sides of the head, looked into my eyes and literally spoke these words to me:
“The average life is full of near misses and absolute hits. Of great love and small disasters. It’s made up of banana milkshakes, loft insulation and random shoes. It’s dead ordinary and truly, truly amazing. What you’ve got to realize is, it’s all here, now. So breathe deep and swallow it whole. Because take it from me: life just whizzes by, and then, all of a sudden, it’s—“
I know there was a writer behind the script that formed the foundation for that episode. I am grateful to him or her. I have no idea if they were hoping to be the catalyst for a Zen moment, but they were.
I’m still replaying the message in my head, and I have no doubt it will still be lingering there when I return home this evening. Thanks to Torchwood’s friendly reminder, I’ll hug my wife and kids a little tighter than usual and remind them how much I love them because life does just whiz by and then…
(Apparently, I wasn’t the only person impressed by the scene. Someone was kind enough to upload the clip to YouTube, so we can appreciate the full auditory and visual richness of the moment.)
If you happen to be one of the poor souls living from the midwestern to the northeastern regions of the United States, I gift you this warm, moment of zen for February 1, 2011. If you try hard enough, you can feel the warm ocean breeze.
(Shot on the iPhone 4 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico on January 31, 2011)