Monday, October 26, 2009

Running gives me zits.

I run in a hat to keep my hair out of my face, and this weekend I had a monstrous zit on my head as a result. I showed it to Jennie Simpson, and she said, "Wow, you're right. That thing is HUGE." Trust Jennie not to mince words.

On top of the monstrous zit on my head, my left IT band is screaming discontent. My right foot almost gave out this morning, but that means nothing compared to my left foot: I bruised my heel at some point, and as a result my first 50 or so steps after getting up in the morning are comparable to a pirate hobbling around on a peg leg.

My butt muscles hurt. I had nightmares about running. I'm glad I don't have to do it today, since I did my long run yesterday. I am slow and labored when I run, and two of my toes constantly fall asleep. I have to shake my leg to keep them awake. This makes me look even more like a spastic runner than I actually am, which is already pretty spastic.

When I was ticking off all my ailments to my dad last night, he said, "Well, Morgan, that's what you have to do when you make a goal: go through all the steps to reach it. Once you're done, you can go back to whatever else you want to do instead."

I want to pretend he meant eating ice cream in front of the TV.

But this morning, after a horrible night's sleep where I woke up in pain each time I tried to roll over, I looked down, and there they were: my runner's legs. They look a little longer than a remember them; a little thinner. When I flex, there's no excess flesh on the outside of my thigh. I can even see MUSCLE.

So I will grudgingly admit that running is not ALL bad. However, after this, I think perhaps I should stick to race distances under 10k.

Love and running kisses

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sometimes, it just doesn’t get any better.

It’s the small things that get me. I realize that most people’s best days are the ones that are full of people – weddings, births, engagements, etc., but that’s never really been my style. I realize what that says about me, and I’m okay with it. There are a couple days that I do remember that included my friends and are among my most memorable: the Beyonce video remake in Megan’s living room with too much champagne; sitting and staring into the yawning immenseness of the Grand Canyon with Tara and Amanda, exploring Alaska with Terri, the California road trip with Tara (especially the first night in the hotel in Eugene). The times that stick out most for me, though, with the best feeling attached, are the ones where I am alone.
Right now, for instance. The fire is going out and I can hear the rain on the roof – it’s been coming down all day. I’m not usually a fan of rain, but it’s different in the mountains, when it’s not a normal occurrence. I’ve noticed that the pine needles take on a lighter hue – the color of sage – when they’re covered in raindrops. With the window open I can smell the pines, a faint tinge of smoke, and wet earth. I am not doing anything very important, simply sitting, working on what I want to work on, perusing the internet for information about writing, publishing, cookbooks and my friends. It’s heaven.
There are two other moments like this that have stopped to give me pause. One was on a German mountaintop where I spent the summer. I walked to the summit one early morning from the hut where I worked, and looked down on the clouds that covered the valley floor. The peaks were all snow-capped around me and the sun shone brightly, and I was only one of very few people who could see it, up here among the chamois and above the tree line. I sat, dangling my feet over oblivion, and just stared, a silly grin on my face.
The other time was coming up from a night dive on the Great Barrier Reef. I had snorkeled and dove during the day and the colors were amazing. The night dive was scary and I couldn’t get over the sound of my own breathing in my ears. I ran low on air early, and the dive master sent me to the surface. I should have been disappointed, but as I slowly emerged from the dark, I saw a huge golden orb above me, and found myself staring straight into the moon as it rose above the horizon. There was a sailboat in front of it, its skeletal outline glistening in the moonlight, and the water was warm and comforting around me. I realized that I was the luckiest person in the world, because I was here, and now, and there was no other place or time like this on earth that I would experience in quite this way again.
It’s easy to forget what a wonder life can be. We slog through our daily tasks, worried about our jobs, our friends, our families, our lives, what we don’t have, what we have too much of, and we forget. Sometimes the days run together and we don’t remember what brought us here in the first place, why we made the choices we did, why we haven’t made different plans. But sometimes – and unfortunately it’s just sometimes – all that other crap falls away and we can just sit, stark naked in ourselves, and remember what a wonder life can be. It’s at those moments that we realize that we have it all, and it doesn’t need to get any better.

Love and best kisses

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Life Changes, and I Need to Let It

There are a couple things that I know for certain: life is what you make of it, and nothing in life is certain.

In the rush of weddings, pregnancies, births and deaths that make up life, especially in your late twenties, there are few things that you can take for granted. I consider myself to be a sentimental type, so even the changing of the d├ęcor in my favorite restaurant is enough to make me wistful for the good old days. Some of the more major life changes have a deep impact on me, and I can’t seem to stop thinking about them.

Regardless of the fact that I am less sentimental about material things and purge my closet and possession list with every move – and there are many moves in my life – I am nevertheless not a fan of change. I appreciate where I am in my life, and what I am able to do with my friends: girls’ weekends away almost every weekend, drinking until the wee hours of the morning and not having to worry about making it home if there’s no one to drive; generally easy-to-deal-with responsibilities that can wait and don’t need to ever be addressed immediately. When my friends started getting dogs I thought they were crazy; when they started getting married I wondered just what exactly the world was coming to; when they started talking about babies I had an almost uncontrollable urge to leave town and not come back until retirement.

It is not necessarily a fear of commitment that I think I’m facing. It is more a fear of being tied down to a life that will get messy at times and may not always be good. I love where I am in life, and it seems strange to me that others might want to limit these moments of freedom, camping trips and bliss for the sake of dirty diapers, parent-teacher conferences and mortgage payments.

Thankfully, I don’t suffer from the same pressures as other people. Few people ask me when I’m going to settle down, when I’m going to have babies, what exactly I’m doing with my life. The reason for this, I think, is twofold: 1) my parents are not the type to ask for grandbabies when it is obvious nothing is further from my mind, and 2) I have been avoiding that lifestyle for so long it has become ridiculous to ask it of me.

The problem is that, regardless of what I am and what I enjoy, I am not everyone. Others want the companionship that comes with live-in relationships; of expanding love and family, of making a mark in the world that will last longer than themselves. They want children that will fill the house with laughter, who will grow into new people that they can relate to and be a part of them. These are normal wants and needs; regardless, I don’t seem to want or need them, at least not at present. I am perhaps a late bloomer; perhaps in that respect I will not bloom at all.

I don't resent the changes that my friends are making to their lives, but part of me is sensing a branching path. I see them heading in one direction, to their families and homes. Then I see me: on Robert Frost's road less traveled, tromping through the bushes, pushing branches out of my way and wondering if I'm still on the path at all. It's where I want to be, but it's hard making your own path sometimes.
After thinking about this in depth for quite awhile, I began to wonder what it was I was actually worried about. Well, I thought to myself, I am worried that the next step in my life won’t be as gratifying as this one is. Then I started to think about other parts of my life: worrying about the same thing during my last recess of elementary school, the last day of high school, the last summer of college when all my friends had already graduated; the last days of any long-term trip I have ever been on. With each step, I feared the future. With each step, I feared the idea of change, and of not enjoying the next phase. With each step, I moved forward tentatively. When I thought about it, however, I realized that I have enjoyed each step even more than the last one. Each adventure is even better than the last, not the reverse as I have always feared. Each day is its own best day, with all its trials and tribulations, adventures and laughter.

So life will change. It's okay. I can let it. My friends can head toward their dreams and I can head toward mine. Even though we may not be on the same paths, we'll at least be within yelling distance. And even though it won't always be the same, each day will bring more adventure, more to enjoy, and more to love.

Love and life-changing kisses