"Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile."
― Bertrand Russell
Susan and I moved into an apartment in Bend, OR this week. It hasn't been an easy transition for me, but I believe having a home base is going to be better in the long run (and for the long run training). It'll give me an opportunity to work on things that need working on — physically, professionally, relationally.
It'll take a focused effort. My downfall has typically been the inability to stave off distractions and place my attention fully into one thing. Distractions abound here. Oddly more so than on the road. It's easy for me to fall into old routines and become stagnant when in a fixed location. On the road, the continued movement creates perhaps an illusion of progress, but over time, making headway across multiple facets of our lives is difficult. I made progress in things that the road allowed. It is a great place to nurture a sense of adventure and exploration, to photograph, to move outside and be immersed in nature. It isn't an easy environment to make a living and it isn't easy to maintain some autonomy while traveling as a couple — which is critical for introverts.
The unstructured, whimsical and uncertain living that "vanlife" afforded was always more my dream than Susan's. In reflection, the truth may be that the lifestyle gets me out of my head. The continual movement and uncertainty puts me in a "doing things" and "solving things" mode. It creates an environment of mild chaos, which is just another form of distraction which I thought I was avoiding. But, that non-threatening type of chaos requires my focus.
I've long created a prison, and placed myself in the non-threatening general population that is cellblock "busyness". Because, the real threat is Isolation. Isolation, time in unintentional thought, is agonizing. Isolation is a dark and hazy hallway of a thousand doors. All the doors are ajar, cracked open for me to easily walk through, but I can't choose one to enter. I remain in purgatory — in my hallway of indecision. More often than not I curl up on the floor and make no decision at all. Then the Warden of Isolation, my faceless ego, begins to castigate me for my inability to act. The doors slam closed and I'm left in darkness with my own negative self-talk echoing off the walls.
Susan thrives when having structure and routine. Perhaps for the same reason I thrive without it. Routine and structure gives her intentional focus, and leaves her with less time in the Isolation. I believe I can thrive with structure and routine if I can step out of the hallway long enough to allow flourishing. My work is to craft better habits and a healthy environment to avoid the indecisions and the Isolation that tends to follow.
STAY CURIOUS — WHAT WE'RE READING
Running Dysmorphic →
This is a pretty awesome (long but worth it) write up of what it feels like searching to be ourselves, yet also searching to belong.
"It’s about identity, isn’t it? All of it. It’s about the fact that this life is not comfortable if you’re aware of your own your-ownness. It’s about the comfort of ritual, and sometimes the comfort of demands, about what it feels like to see someone else’s structure then to mold yourself to fit into it. It’s about not wanting to be judged. I wanted to set myself apart but also be a part. I wanted to say I’m one of you to as many people as I could because I was scared of being myself."
And, as I've struggled with, he writes of the importance of giving ourselves permission to find JOY in our own "absurd" human-ness.
"So much of life is about what you give yourself permission to do or don’t do, and how that act of self-permission leads to joy. This requires the discernment to know what joy is, or how it feels, and in what ways it is true."
Rob Krar's Never-Ending Race →
This is a good read about ultrarunner Rob Krar over on Outside. He discusses his battles with depression, his camps, and the impact his struggles have on his relationship. Always grateful for his openness and sharing his story.
Running Helped Me Cope With—And Ultimately Beat—My Addiction →
Runner and exercise expert Leigh Gerson shares what happened when she swapped drugs for running.
I liked the focus on my breathing, the sound of each step, and the soothing crash of the ocean waves along the beach.
After six weeks, I was running regularly, and the cloud of self-hatred and depression that had surrounded me for most of my life started to evaporate.
We need a major redesign of life →
It’s time to get serious about a major redesign of life. Thirty years were added to average life expectancy in the 20th century, and rather than imagine the scores of ways we could use these years to improve quality of life, we tacked them all on at the end. Only old age got longer.
Long lives are not the problem. The problem is living in cultures designed for lives half as long as the ones we have.
25 Again? How Exercise May Fight Aging →
More science supporting the importance of exercise for longevity, specifically it details the benefit exercise has on managing inflammation.
The study finds that active older men’s muscles resemble, at a cellular level, those of 25-year-olds and weather inflammatory damage much better than the muscles of sedentary older people.