So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Thanksgiving

(With a little bit of help from Don Henley, circa 2001...)

"A lot of things have happened since the last time we spoke; Some of them are funny, some of 'em ain't no joke; and I trust you will forgive me if I lay it on the line; I always thought you were a friend of mine..."

Over the last couple of months I've seen my high school classmates attaching through Web 2.0 modalities like Facebook. It's cool to see some of us have changed over the nearly three decades since graduating high school. Some of us haven't changed a bit. Some haven't left the old home town; some of us are sitting on the far side of the world, in places we would have never imagined being in when we were 17, 18, 19 years old.

"...Sometimes I think about you; I wonder how you're doing now and what you're going through..."

It's a d*mn good thing I'm married & I had no social life in high school. No old flames to fear re-kindling. Well, it'll be uncomfortable next year & I have little to recollect upon but the occasional band or track bus trip...compared to some of the parties my friends engaged in that seems pretty d*mmned lightweight. And since there was no Web 2.0 to speak of back then there won't be any incriminating evidence to dig up.

"...The last time I saw you we were playing with fire; We were loaded with passion and a burning desire; for every breath, for every day of living; This is my Thanksgiving..."

I'll be looked at with a certain degree of admiration, or pity...haven't figured out which. How many people get to re-make themselves 15 years after high school? How many want to re-make themselves? I think I can name at least one or two who would, but I'm not going there at this moment. Well, maybe I will.

"...Now the trouble with you and me, my friend is the trouble with this nation; Too many blessings, too little appreciation;and I know that kind of notion-well, it just ain't cool; so send me back to Sunday school; because I'm tired of waiting for reason to arrive; It's too long we've been living these unexamined lives..."

Getting married & divorced in the course of two years is a blessing in disguise; it showed me the superficiality of some people's religious faith, how fleeting their emotional support can be. It's a harsh wake-up call when you find the people you most hope to stand in your corner when the stuff hits the fan are the first to bail on you. It's provided insight on religion, on faith, & on the painful revelation the two often are not mutually inclusive.

"...I've got great expectations, I've got family and friends; I've got satisfying work, I've got a back that bends; for every breath, for every day of living; This is my Thanksgiving..."

Thank God for those years of solitude & searching in the early-to-mid-1990s. I would have never taken up running, never asked questions of the truths dropped in my lap on a weekly basis, & never thought about doing little more than a seven-to-three, five-day-a-week, working class existence. No college, no job potential, no relocation, no second marriage, no athlete-coach relationships...probably on the fast-track to fat, dumb & happy-ville.

"...Have you noticed that an angry man can only get so far; Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be with the way things are..."

Coaching, here & now, has taught me the need to be less concerned about people who disagree. Most make their case known behind your back, with little or no evidence. They don't want to prove you made a mistake, they want to humiliate you in public. When you're the target of ad hominem attacks, there's not a lot you can do to defend without looking foolish...face it, some knucklehead is bound & determined to drag you down to their level.

"...Here in this fragmented world, I still believe in learning how to give love, and how to receive it; and I would not be among those who abuse this privilege; sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge..."

So, I take my joy from making a difference in a small handful of lives; by motivation, by encouragement, by counsel, by setting the best possible example. The joy comes on days like today, when I can help someone run a personal best at a race...just talking them through the process...not screaming & yelling until it's all said & done (the right time to scream, no?). To those who decide to cross & burn the bridge behind them, all I can do is smile, watch them march into the darkness. Then I'll sit down to roast weenies in the embers.

"...And I don't mind saying that I still love it all; I wallowed in the springtime, now I'm welcoming the fall; for every moment of joy, every hour of fear; for every winding road that brought me here; for every breath, for every day of living; This is my Thanksgiving..."

This time of the year, with the darkness & damp & cold, is a strange time for running. You spend lots of time in solitary pursuit if you stick to the road or the track; treadmills only isolate us from each other through music players & headphones. Sometimes it helps just to break the rut; if you've been treadmilling regularly, get out on the track or the road. If you run in the dark under the streetlamps, get inside every so often. Break the monotony.

"...For everyone who helped me start; and for everything that broke my heart; for every breath, for every day of living; This is my Thanksgiving."

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