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Life is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First

It’s a new year, time to stop eating all the holiday M&Ms and candy canes I bought for 80 percent off at CVS. Ready to start 2017, I tell myself.

Just two weeks ago I set aside time to consider my goals for the year, but did so in front of the computer interspersed with way too much refresh of the national news, where uncertainty about what’s next perpetually taunts me.

I’ve momentarily put my 2017 goal planning on pause, in order to navigate my current state of nerves and frustration. This weekend I felt the negative energy reaching a paralytic level, until I said no more, and laced up my running shoes.

Cold rain fell as I left the indoors behind. I really didn’t want to be outside, but my inability to shut out the headlines and think more than five minutes into the future was intolerable. Plus, my fingernails were bearing the brunt of my nerves. They deserved a break, too.

Living in D.C., there is little escape from the political environment. Politics is our environment. As I write, the city abounds with miles of fencing and porta-potties as D.C. prepares for the inauguration. Maneuvering through the city smoothly becomes more challenging each day. At this point it’s practically impossible. Nevertheless, I quickly plotted a route I hoped would be porta-potty and fence free. Then I ran. And ran. And ran.

It was a chilly day and white puffs of steam accompanied each exhale. I imagined every little cloud a release of the toxic energy that had been eating my insides. Occasional tears slipped down my cheeks, as frustration fueled my run. Mile after mile, the emotions that had overwhelmed me steadily flowed out through my physical exertion. My two-day stress headache ebbed, and 13 miles later I felt somewhat normal again.

Life is uncertain, eat dessert first. Then turn off the computer, brush your teeth, and go for a run. Let anxiety and negativity escape, one breath, one footstep at a time.

9 thoughts on “Life is Uncertain, Eat Dessert First

  1. i’ve looked for hills [such as they are in florida] not for the downhill, i don’t care for speed, but for the forced slog of the uphill, the need to concentrate on That One Thing. and ignore, for a few minutes, my fears of the world to come.

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  2. The days that are coming will need all our concentration and meditation on peaceful tasks that ease our souls. I hope to bike more, read more, meditate and be mindfully aware of ever touch of nature. Where are you going for your bike vacation this year? Jo

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  3. I feel ya. I need to get out and get out. I’ve been going crazy with cabin fever, as the snow/ice that has stuck around for a week has made biking on anything that isn’t a fat bike or studded tired impractical. Even the 20 minute walk to the grocery store was arduous, as sidewalks are basically pockmarked ice sheets. Snow begone!

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  4. A great post! The uncertainty, and the turn away from the world, oppresses me, too. Cycling is one relief, a respite from thought–if I do it hard enough. If I pedal fast enough, I might reach the purity Wendell Barry evokes in this poem:
    THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

    “When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

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  5. Yes. I have rides like that. I suppose we all have a variety of stress sources, and some of us a blessed enough to have the gift you, and Wendell Berry, have described. When I visit my father in the nursing home these days, he tells how much he longs to be back out in the woods. Dessert first indeed.

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  6. i am always thankful for your views [written and photographic] of the nation’s capitol city.

    [i never imagined you as one to indulge in M&Ms….! thanks for being so REAL……]

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  7. Live in Springfield,MO and am 69 yrs old. Got in over 1500 miles in 2016. Who knows what this yr will bring. Had ice storm last week. Had a meeting at 5 pm recently and was early. So had a 1/2 price Steak and Shake shake before dinner. Dessert before dinner-OK with me. Hope all of our rides are fun and safe. Did a 15 mi ride with my grandson New Year’s day. Life is good, enjoy.

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  8. From the other side of the Atlantic: thanks for all your coffeeneuring efforts. Good luck with the future. I expect you’re worried. We’re worried. The most worried are surely the Estonians who lie awake at night listening for the rumble of tanks. Again.

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