Friday, September 21, 2012

My stream of consciousness pooped out this post

For someone who has been rehashing her life with words for 20ish years, I find it odd and amazing that I still have things to talk about.  I began journaling on paper pretty religiously in middle school (circa 1993) after my mom got me in the habit of writing down the day's events in elementary school.  Boy woes and frenemies took up the all the lines on each page.

In 2001, I started blogging on livejournal--installments of that portion of my life are exemplified by this jewel of a post.  As running took over my life and I became addicted to the idea of connecting with complete strangers, I started blogging on Runner's World.  And since running is like flossing my teeth (it's good for me, I never have regrets doing it, but a few times a year I allow myself to be lazy), I find that writing about running and life keeps me wanting to do good things with both.

Q: Where am I going with this post?

A: I sometimes gets so enamored with ideas for blogs that I find it hard to choose.  Some of them are about running, many of them are not.  So I am writing 3 posts today.  Like A Christmas Carol, I am going to visit the past, present, and the future.  Kind of.  Trust me, in my head, it all makes sense.

The Past (Losing My Religion)

The background: I grew up in a home where my brother, sister, and I were baptized in the Methodist church.  Our family went to church regularly on Sundays.  The kids went to Sunday school and sat through Sunday service.  My brother and I were confirmed.  After my parents got divorced, I went through a pseudo-religious phase where I found comfort in the rites and long history of Christianity.  I can still rap (yes, rap) the books of the Old Testament.

But as I became a gnarly teenager, I fought going more and more.  Eventually, my mom stopped asking and I all together stopped going.  And haven't found a good reason to go back since.  I haven't pooh-poohed my spirituality all together.  But I'm not in a place where I want to be a part of organized religion.  I believe in a higher being.  I am fully aware that blogging about religious beliefs (or non-beliefs as the case may be) is a potentially dangerous sport, but I also feel like I have to defend my agnostic stance anywhere I go.

Why do I bring this up?

I happened to be in a weird situation the other night.  Some newfound acquaintances were discussing their church and their pastor.  I had been an active part of the conversation the entire night until then.  And while they delved into this part of the conversation, I became a lot quieter.  It was like co-workers talking about work when you don't do what they do.  There really wasn't much for me to add, but I listened and just enjoyed being in their company.

Then one of them asked me if I went to church.  And while I should feel as though I am allowed to say 'I'm agnostic' just as one says 'I'm Jewish' (like my husband) and expect to provide no more explanation, I suddenly felt like I needed to defend myself.  It was awkward.  And no one tried to talk me into going with them or even suggested that I was 'less than', I just felt that way.  Being in the minority made me feel like I had an inferior life choice. 

Later, after I was alone with my thoughts, I realized that I was being ridiculous. It was just a natural part of conversation for them to ask about church as their spirituality is an integral part of their lives.  I am 30-freaking years old.  I should be able to tell another adult that I'm agnostic and not feel ashamed.  So I'll be working on pulling on my big girl pants as I try really hard to stop caring what others think--easier said than done!

The Present (Living Well is the Best Revenge)

I said it a couple hundred times before, but I really prefer to run every other day.  Unless I am marathon training, I find that it works better for my body and my schedule.  But this morning, I decided that I wanted to finish watching the rest of a movie, so instead of laying on the sofa, I would just run.  There was no goal for time or speed.  I was just going to enjoy my movie.

About 3 miles into the run, I realized I had forgotten I was running.  For 25ish minutes, I was easily trotting along with no pain or care about what I was doing.  And I was so overwhelmed that my body is capable of doing amazing things.  I get frustrated at the minor twinges or lead legs, but I can honestly say that I've had very few physical struggles (knock on wood) while running over the years.
I may sit around in my shorts for a few extra minutes procrastinating the inevitable, but once I get two feet off the ground simultaneously, I know I am only letting myself down if I stop.  This mental strength is something I feel like I am allowed to brag about a little bit.  Because any nutjob can train to run long distances, but to truly enjoy it takes a special kind of nutjob.  And as long as I keep enjoying it, I have to keep thanking my body for allowing me to enjoy it.

The Future (Shiny Happy People)

The third piece of the puzzle comes from too much endorphins from my majestic run. My dad, who moved back to Atlanta after living in Charlotte for 17 years, was in a minor car accident yesterday.  His car is totaled, but thankfully, no one was hurt.  He recently went back to work after a few years of being in retirement and is working about 10 minutes from my house. 

When I spoke to him yesterday, I saw a twinkle of a guy I hadn't seen for a long time.  He was telling me about how he had to go to court for a case yesterday and how he really enjoyed the adrenaline rush.  I had no idea.  I knew he sounded different now that he's been back at work.  He could feel accomplished again.  Glad to know that the competitiveness can be subdued, but it never goes away.  He just never seemed happy or himself when he was retired and now I know why.

Why is this the future? Because I feel really happy that my whole immediate family is now in Atlanta.  My kids (when they are made & born) will have the ability to truly get to know at least part of their extended family.  It never seemed to be a big deal that my dad was 4 hours away, but I realized since he's been here how much better it is to have him close.  Now if only I could convince the in-laws to move here...

So that's today's saga.  I feel better about releasing my stream of consciousness.  Life's too interesting to make every post short n' sweet.

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