Gifts and Relationships

Feeling good today.

I ran 9 miles yesterday after work and feel super happy about my time – 9 miles in 90 minutes. My right hip hurt a tiny bit, but not in a worrisome way. I feel like I am plowing through my shoes — maybe it’s time to start in a new pair of shoes and alternate them.

Even so, I ran 9 miles yesterday. It sounds braggy to repeat that, but I’m astonished.

The girl who hated running a year ago ran 9 miles yesterday.

I like to run in a park on the university campus where I work. It has various loops and surface types — paved, gravel, dirt/mulch. The only thing that sucks is that when you leave this park, all three entrances are uphill. After a long run, that hill at the end can be killer.

While nature is lovely and I love contemplating it as I run through the trees and along the lake in this park, goose poop was everywhere yesterday! The geese who dropped it were all over the path in this one section along the lake, and it made things tense at times. They were a bit aggressive toward some runners, particularly male ones. It must be getting to be mating season?

There’s a great blue heron who fishes in the lake, too. What a huge bird. It’s always a treat to see it stalking but mostly studying the water around its feet as it hunts. And yesterday, randomly, there was a dude with a falcon or a hawk (must look up to know difference) walking through the park. I’ve also seen a lot of deer along the path and sometimes in the stream that the lake flows into.

All of these things are gifts. Nature. Being able to run — and getting better at it. Even being able to step around goose poop means I am somewhere where geese and other animals can be seen, outside of a zoo, I suppose.

I wish I had slept better, but I think I generated too much energy from my run to settle easily and I refuse to take sleep meds these days. I also was hungry, as my run burned 1,200 calories.

Today I have lunch with a friend from my old neighborhood. I haven’t seen her in years! She works relatively nearby. She’s a musician and I haven’t been able to make it to her shows. I reached out this last time because I really have wanted to see her perform and I miss her friendship.

Several of my friends have told me in the last year that I am good at keeping up with people. I just assumed everyone did. I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate, either, as I often feel out of touch. Or, I will think of someone I haven’t thought of in a while, like from high school or college, and feel terrible that I haven’t stayed in touch, even if they haven’t tried to reach me. I guess I find people and my connections to them to be interesting. Maybe I like keeping in touch with people for the sake of staying in touch with them. I also find it weird to think about how superficially I know most people from high school and college. I just a general feeling about them and not specifics (he was also so quiet but I thought he was cute, she always smiled, I wish I had taken the time to know them all better, etc.).

It makes me grouchy to hear from someone I haven’t heard from in over ten years, asking me to talk to them about their company (products they are selling). Clearly they are scraping the bottom of the barrel of their social contacts by the time they get to me. I want to support close friends and even my sister on their small businesses, and they definitely get first dibs on my support when I am in a mental space to do that.

I keep telling myself that I love people and not things. I’ve said this a few times to my son, especially when I see him fighting over a toy with the classmate he’s closest to. I tell him, our friends are more important than toys. Walking the walk has meant extreme purging in the last few years and living sacrificially in many ways. Rather than buying new clothes, I shop consignment. My son wears majority hand-me-downs. We donate things we haven’t used or just don’t fit in our lives anymore. We throw out papers and other things no one can use. It gives us space to breathe and room to move and think.

Now if we could sit still a bit more. It’s been wonderful to be able to support those in need with truly nice things that we didn’t want to sell — we just wanted to give them away. Many kind people collect things in the area where we live, and it’s easy to find things around the house we aren’t using to contribute. Being able to give is one of the best feelings to me. Asking for nothing in return is also a gift. Nothing I have was due to me being any better than anyone else. All these things were given to me at some point.

I’m frustrated right now with our nation’s political climate and all those who are caught in the web of massive recent changes — and anticipated changes. I don’t take my freedom to go on a run after work and trying to feel better for granted against the backdrop of many people trying to flee wars and seek refuge among safe and welcoming places. I fear for those who may lose their healthcare. I cry with and for those who still have to maintain their faith tradition is actually peaceful.

I wish I knew how to make the great divide come together — it certainly can’t be through comments on social media. I wish I could make everyone see that aside from some stark, pain-inducing differences, most folks would agree on some fundamental things if you got them together in a room. I wish I knew which news sources the middle ground agrees on as the extreme left and right find each others’ news sources suspicious at best.

Along with feeling frustrated, I also feel a bit detached. I probably appear apathetic. I’m not proud of this. I wish I had marched. I wish I had called. Honestly, I feel overwhelmed by all the inputs of opinions, directions, and images. Other than a general sense of what I feel in my heart is just, I don’t know that adding my voice to the ranks will cause the tide to turn all that much. I won’t be airing my thoughts on social media, except for here, but it’s my site, right?

All I have is the day ahead of me though, and the goal of feeling and doing better. Like I’ve built up my ability to run, I can build up my ability to speak up.

Thanks for reading.


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