Friday, June 4, 2021
Today I have time to write. It is a day of rest, the unplanned result of sustaining an overuse injury to the tendons of my left calf muscles – gastrocnemius tendonitis, specifically. It is my own fault; I'm too old to be so ambitious and run as fast as I do. As I begin my recovery, I already am setting a plan of avoidance through adjusting my physical aspirations and maybe placing added emphasis upon stretching more in the future. With rest on the horizon for the foreseeable future, I stop to look carefully at the aging image staring back at me in the mirror and consider a re-examination of my current path.
I wonder how I would deal with this tendon injury if I was one of my ancestors on the savanna of eastern Africa. While the young hunters follow the herds in hopes of running down an exhausted animal for the tribe's dinner, I wonder if I would be able to keep up with the trailing troupe of women, children, and other older veterans of the hunt as they follow behind. Could I still rise up to hobble the distance and advance with the tribe to share dinner and survive with them another day?
Sitting down to rest and recover was not an option then any more than it is today. One either kept up with the tribe in its daily movements, or became lion bait. While lions no longer present a threat in my modern world (most days), the insidious predator of aging ever lies in wait to pounce if I slow down or stop hobbling.
We all belong to the same tribe from those times of antiquity, whether we consider it or not. My survival has always depended upon keeping up with my tribe, no less today than before I became so “evolutionarily advanced”. So, as I look in the mirror, that is the question that confronts me in my immediate crisis: Can I still keep up or will I become food for the lion?
I have committed my life to a pursuit of freedom and cannot allow something as distracting as an injury to trip me up in my dance toward infinity. If I stop now, then what was the point of all the hard work? The trick is to continue whatever it is that got me here... which for me has been a life of exertion and risk-taking. Injury is not an excuse for laying down.
Old age is the final adversary I face before I spin off into infinity. It is the cruelest of all the enemies I have faced. It presents a constant reminder that I am but one step away from being swept away in defeat. I fight the good fight, without fears; I keep a clarity of mind despite a lingering desire to just rest. If I give into the desire and yield to the soothing thought of taking a break, the predator who is always waiting in the wings will cut me down in my final battle. There can be no retreat.
The cult mind of the collective is not something I resonate to. I have pushed the boundaries relentlessly in every respect to escape the mold of what the average man has become. Through a cultured clarity early in my life and a chosen sobriety I figured out that I did not want to live the common life in the mold of most people. I look around me and see the majority of those I call friend being consumed by the predator during the past year or so. As I look in the mirror, the seer looking back reaffirms that I will not yield for reasons of age or injury or infirmity. Now is no time to pull over to the sidelines and ease the fight. Infinity can wait. The lion can go hungry for awhile longer. I shall keep up with my tribe for as long as I have the resolve to hobble on, hobble on.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
Kilian Jornet, p. 86 in Run or Die
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