Well, it looks like it's about that time for another philosophical reflection on my strange life. To be honest, I don't actually think my life is all that strange, but I say it's "strange" only because I tend to notice patterns in life that always seem to show up. We'll revisit one of the activities I do for an hour once a week, but it can be argued that this one hour is the important hour of my week.
I'm referring to my weekly Tuesday morning run. I run for about an hour, give or take 10 minutes, and then quickly head to my 9 am Zoom class. I'm often late to my 9 am by a couple of minutes, but thankfully my ELA is lenient about being a little late. But, frankly, I would sacrifice a few attendance points if it means that I can make the best use of that one hour each Tuesday morning.
Running, like many physical activities, requires active effort. It requires grit, perseverance, and a pain-tolerance unlike any academic, emotional, or mental challenge. When you are in the middle of a hard workout, there is nothing to save you. You are alone. Your body tells you to stop, but it's up to you, the true you that runs your center of consciousness, to break through the biological barriers of physical exertion. Challenging yourself physically is an entirely different beast than challenging yourself academically. You need a little bit of both worlds: they are not the same.
I've talked about running before in my previous articles, so I won't repeat myself too much here. I want to mention another special lesson in life that I've realized recently:
Stop looking forward to the future. Live in the present.
There's too much going on in life, too many interesting experiences and observations that we are bound to miss if we live on "autopilot." Living life on autopilot tends to happen easily when we are bound in a hard situation: when we have a lot of responsibilities on our plate. When we're stuck between a rock and a hard place, it makes sense to block out the current pain, and focus on the future, when we can be somewhere else, safe and sound.
But as you become mesmerized by this false mirage of the future, the present eats you up alive. Have you ever had a big project due, and planned out in your head everything that you would do to get it done, but find yourself never actually starting? We become engrossed in the end outcome, so much so that we lose sight of the fact that the important things lie in the present. Life should be lived in the present. The future will come when it does, and when it does come, it will also become the present.
So, I say, if we can only act on the present, then why don't we focus on the "here and now," rather than the somedays of our lives?
When I run, my mind often starts imagining the moment in the future when the pain is finally over. While my biological brain thinks this will help mitigate the pain, I know deep inside that there is no better thing to do in the middle of that run than to relax, and truly enjoy the moment for what it is. I am running. I don't need to do anything else but run. This is the present. This is life.