The Long View, or How I Try to Live Happy (a Tigger Talk update because sometimes life just sucks)
I am broken and heartbroken today. This is sometimes my answer when people ask me how I am, which as you can imagine gives them pause. I find myself explaining what I mean quite often.
And so I thought I’d do it here as well.
I’m sitting on my couch, sore and beaten up from my Olympic lifting training at Broad Ripple Fit Club. This week has been a great + mighty struggle physically. It’s also been tough emotionally. I’ve reached the age when phone calls bring terribly sad news as often as they bring good.
This would have been a week to shut down, to crawl back into the whole, and cuddle up with the dark places where I lived for a very long time. When your body and your brain just. don’t. work., getting up is hard. Moving is hard. Everything is just hard. (You’ll see what I mean, younglings.)
But I’m lucky enough that I lived through enough shit to have some perspective.
So I don’t think about what my body can’t do anymore, or the aches that follow me around on a daily basis. I don’t dwell on coming in last at everything I do in my gym. I don’t obsess what I can no longer do. Instead, I choose to think back to 7 1/2 years ago when my body couldn’t do anything. Alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes (in that order) wrecked me. Walking briskly was hard.
Then I remember: Today I’m training for a national (MASTERS) weightlifting competition because I have great coaches + a community of people that come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds. We laugh in the face of failure. We support in the face of obstacles. I’m not going to win. But I don’t actually give a shit about that. The pain and the aches and soreness I have today is from a life well lived, and not from giving up and destroying myself.
And so I am broken.
And when the phone rang, bringing me news about someone very important in a life I once lived, I was devastated and heartbroken.
But I couldn’t muster tears, or sadness. I couldn’t dwell on the pain that grew in my heart as I listened to the inevitable news that it brings to and for everyone. I can’t do that. I don’t see life — and its ending — as sad. The limitation brings with it a reminder that everything matters.
Instead, I told inappropriate stories about times gone by. I reveled in the trouble we stirred up, and the trouble I caused. I cursed, I laughed, and I tried to pass along the essence of what mattered without care of social graces. The stories, the life, the people are what matters. The end makes everything else meaningless in all of its flavors.
Certainly life is melancholy. But it’s the sadness that makes the colors so much brighter, the sun so much warmer, and the happiness so much happier. So I think back to the ways my life is better, and changed, and different because of the time I had with this person. The end is sad, but it is also the time we curse the loudest, drink the most, and celebrate the stupid shit that never mattered and always mattered the most. I think about the lessons I have taken and passed along the students I now I teach, and I think about the jokes I played just to annoy. I don’t dwell on the regrets, or the missed chances. I am thankful just for the things I had in the time that I had them.
And so I am heartbroken. (And maybe have mustered a few tears.)
And these are the good things in life.
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If you’ve made it this far, you might be interested in my other #tigger blog posts, or the post that began this, The Tigger Talk. If you’ve made it this far and you’re not interested in either of those, you should avoid clicking on those links at all cost. Trust me.