it was 2:30ish when i woke this morning. this pattern i’m settling into means i am in bed not long after my 4 year old son. so i don’t do much/any work at night now, nor do i watch much tv anymore.
i miss neither. i love getting up and going for a run.
which is what i did today!
“5 mile run” it said on my half marathon training schedule – which is 8km in aussie terms. i wound up doing 8.4km in the end.
no specific pace, just a relaxed pace run around a route i first did as a walk/run in august last year.
as is often the case with these more relaxed runs (i.e. when i’m not focusing on a pace, or specific speed work) – the cogs in my overworked brain started whirring and throwing out “stuff”.
today’s stuff was all about “the meaning of life”
i do that, you may have noticed, i sometimes go off into existentialist, philosophical debates with myself. i am still no close to the truth.
but today “we” (my innermost thought processes and i) decided that there really must be something more than just living and dying. some kind of purpose, otherwise it’s all potentially a bit of a sad waste really.
i don’t know how often this happens to other runners. perhaps those who have their religion use the time to converse with their deity – whichever flavour of “god” that may be.
perhaps those who fundamentally believe that this really is it – well maybe they just work through current blockages and then go on to have a happier day.
but all that doesn’t really matter when you think about it
because no matter what your belief system, no matter your world view, you DO have to live this life you have right now.
and whether you simply get to the end of it, reincarnate, move on to some kind of paradise… whatever happens, you surely have a duty, a responsibility, to make the most of this life.
but that then begs the question of “how?”
how do you make the most of this life?
i am fairly sure the answer to this will be different for every person on the planet. i also feel a little guilty, at times, in even contemplating this question – because at least i have the LUXURY of being able to contemplate it.
many people don’t. some don’t need to make the most of life, some are simply trying to find a way to stay alive (drought, famine, war, pestilence etc.)
but for those of us who can afford the luxury of navel-gazing, it still seems to crop up as a question.
is it as simple as “be happy”?
perhaps this is it. perhaps that is the whole secret.
but for me it really goes beyond that simple maxim. maybe it’s just a technicality though, maybe “be happy” is still the goal.
my definition includes “meaning”. to have a “meaningful” existence.
to have an impact, to make dents in the universe, to achieve something of value to the world.
and i couldn’t even give a crap about “being rich” – just as long as i have the means to live, do my meaningful work, and no longer worry about bills, debts etc.
so what, then, is “meaningful”?
this is not easy to answer – and i don’t think there is one single answer.
i have believed that i found meaning in many things over the years. for whatever reason, these things haven’t panned out.
invariably it involves some kind of “helping”. the reason it hasn’t “panned out” has eluded me – but i’m starting to see it is all to do with the one-sided-ness of it all.
yes, i’d found things that “helped” others in various ways. but these things were not things that excited ME. not at a core, from-the-heart, level.
and that’s where the key starts to reveal itself – this “meaning” has to come from a place that has value for everyone, including yourself.
all roads lead to running
as you will have noticed by now, running has become something of a passion. not elite-level running, nowhere near that in fact! just running, slowly, pushing myself a little further each time, building on each little success.
that process is proving to be highly rewarding and motivating for me.
a love of running seems to be firing me up more fully than anything ever before.
and it is this personal experience that then shows up on the “meaning” side of the equation. that somehow, just doing what i have done, and what i am continuing to do, can, in various ways, bring meaning and value to the world.
and it’s not even that difficult to do
i posted a couple of comments on facebook pages yesterday – people at an earlier stage of their personal development, in a place that i recognised from my own past.
just encouraging comments really, pointing out similar situations that i’d faced, or similar thoughts that i’d had along the way.
and it seemed to help. it really did seem to help those people. and it felt brilliant to be able to do that.
perhaps that’s ALL i really need to do. perhaps that’s all any of us really need to do, to be happy.
find something you love, then share that love. freely.