Do you read The Oatmeal? I have only recently begun reading it on a regular basis. And it is mainly because of this comic about running. Have you read it? No? Click on the link. This post will still be here, and some of what I write next won’t make sense unless you read it.
I grok that comic. Especially the blerch. Oh, I admit that I have never been much of a runner. Anything beyond sprinting was anathema to me. But instead of running, I have had multiple other activities that I have pursued in avoidance of the sedentary lifestyle the blerch embodies.
When I was a child and a teenager, it was bicycling. I rode everywhere. Bicycling remained my main form of transportation, even after I learned to drive. Bicycling was freedom. Cars were responsibility. Bicycling was the wind across my brow and waving hello to people on the street and bird songs and sun tans and earning my meals and balance and weather and joy to be alive.
When I went to college my bicycle was stolen, so I needed to find other activities. I found juggling. Juggling was rhythm. Juggling offered many of the same joys of bicycling. Interaction with the environment and people. Contemplative introspection during repetitive physical activity. It lacked the change of scenery, but it offered more creativity. And though I eventually purchased a new bicycle, I had fallen out of the habit.
I eventually fell out of juggling as well. But I always find a new thing. When I moved to New Mexico, it became hiking. Then salsa dancing. Then unicycling. And most recently, I began to run.
My current schedule makes it easier than ever to give in to the call to vegetate. “I don’t want to do anything! I’m on owl shift! I should sleep! I’ve been pushing myself too hard! waaaah!”
And far more than I ever did before, I have been listening to those voices.
I have considered myself a Blue Lantern. Hope is my fuel and my most powerful character trait. But lately, I have come to realize that although hope may motivate me, will is what keeps me moving. And I have got to keep moving. I am more of a Green Lantern than I thought.
Yes, I brought it all back to comics. And that Oatmeal strip I mentioned is what crystallized it all for me. My reasons may not always be exactly the same as his, but the whole thing resonates with me. And it makes me realize that even though I can hear the blerch’s insistence on taking it easy, I can never seem to let myself do that for long. And I will always find some way to keep going.