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The Second Half.

4 August 2014

You know, it really is something to be 40 years old and literally be in the best shape of my life. You hear that a lot, and for the most part I’ve always assumed it’s bullshit from someone selling powdered youth on television. And usually, I think, it is. But in my case, I spent such a very long time poisoning, abusing, and neglecting my body that it frankly wouldn’t have taken a lot to get me into the best shape of my life.

And of course, I’m using “life” to mean “adulthood”. I was a wiry, fit child. That ended at puberty. From age 14 to age 37 I was overweight, often flirting with obese. And I was in poorer shape than many people of my same height and weight, by a long shot, because of my drinking and smoking and sedentism. Starting in my 37th year, I began to walk and run and work out, having quit smoking about 18 months prior. I was sober about three years.

A lot of alcoholics run marathons. Recovering ones, I mean. I will not likely ever run a marathon, though it has gone from “ruled-out” to “distant possibility”. But I am about to run my second half-marathon. In about seven weeks, I’ll suit up again to go 13.1 miles, on September 21st in Philadelphia, where they’re holding the “Rock and Roll Half Marathon”. I’ll be running with my partner again. And I am hoping to improve on my time from the Pittsburgh half, where I ran 2:38. But if I’m slower, I’m slower. My only real goal is to finish.

I’m excited. I have an obsessive personality. It’s not a disorder – thankfully, that’s one mental illness I don’t suffer from – but it does lead me to collect things. I collect experiences, objects, travels. I collect things I’ve read, things I’ve done, academic degrees, professional milestones. But my most precious collections are things I’ve accomplished.

Now, I am trying to accomplish something that I never tried to before. I’m trying to accomplish health. I’ve been working slowly on it for about six and a half years now. From pounding angrily on Death’s door, demanding to be let in, I have stepped back. Surrendered to my nature, and relinquished the substances of my addictions. Rooted myself from torpor and begun to move with more intention across the landscape of the second half of my life.

I am out of the sludgy wallow I inhabited for so many years. I have learned much of living. Mostly, I’ve learned how much more I have to learn. But I need not lucubrate on life. I run in bright light.

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