I’m actually pretty happy with things at the moment. I’ve had a hard time over the last year with my energy being sapped in a variety of ways I wouldn’t necessarily choose but, at the moment things are looking up. My work has settled down to something approximating manageable, I have started blogging again and, I’ve taken a lot of the pressure that I felt about my running off myself. It has been hard but I actually think I’m a better person now than I was before and that in part is due to long suffering friends.
During my life I have had 2 obsessive lifestyle interests. I’ve had other hobbies but there have only been 2 activities that have permeated and influenced every other part of my life.
When I was a teenager I wanted to know more about the nature of reality, I was interested in how the world and people worked. With that knowledge I could become a better person. Being a teenager the people I looked up to were musicians and freaks and the people they looked up to were touchy feely exponents of esoteric knowledge. I smoked and drank developing a keen interest in mind altering substances of every type. It was the psychedelics I was interested in, they gave me the feeling I was making a voyage of discovery, exploring a brave new world and letting the scales fall from my eyes so I could see things as they really were. I am sure I have mentioned my interest in narcotics before.
As time passed my peer group changed until I looked around at some point and realised that everyone I knew smoked dope at the very least. Most of them popped pills and tabs fairly regularly. Even the people I spoke to at work smoked, certainly everyone I knew socially was a dopehead. My entire world revolved around hash.
More time passed, I did a lot of sitting around, played a lot of pc games had many interesting but instantly forgotten thoughts. Gradually I ceased to exist in any capacity except as a person who scored and then sat at home and smoked. I didn’t really go out much except to score and shop occasionally. My peer group shrank as everyone else I knew did the same. We all stayed at home and got high, nobody pushed anyone and life got narrower and a little more dingy. My brave new world of discovery reduced to a tiny flat of familiar tedium, relieved only by the sedation of marijuana. The problem was not just mine, it was a problem that everyone I knew had. None of us aspired to anything better.
Eventually I moved and the cycle was broken. The obsession of the previous 20 odd years slowly faded and I was left with not a lot.
I started running and hanging out with more and more running people. One day I woke up and realised that once again I had slipped into a strange universe where almost everyone I knew shared the same interest. Everywhere there were runners, even people at work were runners, my social life revolved around runners, I visit relatives simply because there is a local race, however there is one huge difference. Whereas the dopeheads let the world slip by and evaporate into a big scary place outside the front door, the runners take me out of the front door and introduce me to the world. Whether it is explicit or not they want to be better versions of themselves than they currently are and they want to take me with them. They want me to be a better runner and by default a better person and, I want them to be better too. 20 years ago I would have loathed these runners, many people still would, who wants their comfort zone to be disrupted? Who wants their own failures thrown into sharp relief by folks who just seem to be getting better and better? Especially if they seem to be having a good time doing it.