Anxious. And excited. One of the long awaited dreams is about to come true. The dream of being able to run 100km has haunted me since high-school. In my hometown there was a 100km running race organised every year, as part of the European league. Many entrants, many amazing results. Fascinated by all those people running, enduring such inhuman effort for a symbolic reward.
Now I am about to experience this myself. To understand. To comprehend of what it means to run 100km. I often go back in my thoughts to this single person, Pheidippides, who has started it all. A legend. A movement. Inspiring person.
Going beyond myself. Have I conquered the “old me” who was not capable of running 100km? How did I changed? It was a great few months, with a large number of hours spent running, outdoors, enjoying the sceneries. I have truly enjoyed the journey. I think I understood better of what running is all about. I have learned more about my limits, and my body. And how it all works. I’m more experienced now. Both, sport-wise and soul-wise. Hard to put it all into words. I did change and I know that i like of who I have became. But then again, wasn’t I always destined to be, just, myself?
I am happy of what is about to happen. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for long enough, and now the anticipation and happiness slowly settle in. Dream coming true – a big one.
The entries for both, the ultramarathon in Nasby and moro marathon around Otago Peninsula have been signed, submitted, done. I’m in. Excited, and scared. Humbled. The calf muscle still hurts, but I have managed to run the last 2 days. The distance of 2.5x marathon does not fit into my head yet – I cannot comprehend what it means. Rationally, I understand that it will be the hardest thing I have ever done, and the longest day, and there will be pain, lots of it, but, it still feels abstract and remote. 9 days to go.
Long lunch discussion today on the topic of choices. What should we spent our lives on doing? What we should avoid doing? In general, broad sense. Not often people dwell on this topic – life seems to be composed of micro-decisions that push us towards particular direction. Often it is reactions not really mindful and conscious actions. Opportunity presents itself, we take it. Problem arises, we work around it. And the rest is filled up with routine duties, tasks and schedules.
What would I do if I could do anything I want doing? Actually, being an academic is pretty awesome as I in fact end up doing mostly what I love doing, and deciding on my own on to where my time should be spent on. It does still remain a difficult to decide exactly, what the various priorities and constraints are.
Let’s consider a recursively defined abstract measure of impact, called I-factor, of a person’s life, as the sum of all the influences a person had on their immediate peers they interacted or communicated with, plus all the impact made by those peers on their peers (which was caused by the original impact), ad infinity. Then, perhaps, maximizing the i-factor should be the general guideline?
When someone I know passes away, I tend to review their lives and focus on the intersection between theirs and my own life. How much time have we spent together. How much I have learned and enjoyed my own existence because of the other person. How much we shared. How much we celebrated. How much we’ve created together.
Somehow the reality is, that it never feels enough. Sadly. It feels there could have been more. There could have been this one extra visit, that one extra meeting, that one extra long conversation that we have put off, or even a simple phone call.
And then they are gone. Just like that. Often unexpectedly.
My uncle, Zdzisław, has died few weeks ago. My father has had two brothers and a sister. The younger brother and sister died earlier. Now he has been left without any siblings. It has been hard for him, and the grieving process took some toll on his health. It is hard for me. Not being able to attend the funeral, and being so far away from the family. Not easy to accept and say goodbye if you are removed from their reality. When my grandma passed away it took over 4 years and two visits back home to understand and appreciate that she is in fact gone. Somehow, the reality back home stays as I have left it, many years ago. I’m often surprised that some of my cousines have children – it often feels to me they are still teenagers – the way I remember them.
One of my friends with whom I have studied in Birmingham, Paweł, has died last Wednesday. He went in the evening to walk his dog and was struck by a speeding car. The 25-year old driver lost control on a corner, and went off the road into the pavement, killing Paweł instantly (according to the Police report). Paweł was 38; he left wife, with two sons behind (5 and 2).
I have been back to Poland in December but did not manage to organise a trip to Krakow to catch up with him and his wife. Christmas, family visits. It is not as much guilt, as sadness. Sadness that we can only do so little. One life is not enough to do it all.
Subconsciously, I try to put some logic where there is none. And explain. And reason. As hard as it is to accept what has happend to Paweł and his family, it is by far harder to live so that there are no deep regrets about that intersection I kept thinking about. Living so that I feel I’ve done it all, right.
Can there be ever “enough” of somebody? Is there a limit on time we spent with the loved ones?
Balance. Finding the peace with oneself, being positive, and always welcoming, offering, and appreciating the time that can be shared and celebrated. That’s all that there is to it, really. Finding the balance.
Black Swan by Darren Aronofski (2010). IMDB. The story of a young woman dancer, Nina, living with her mother, who was also a dancer but stopped her career when pregnant with Nina at the age of 28. Nina practice and compets to perform in the Swan Lake. A white, innocent twin dancing, practicing and striving for perfection and purity vs. sensual and full of intrique black twin, that the prince falls for. The girls were changed into swans and awaited the prince to turn them back into humans. The white twin commits suicide at the end.
Nina undergoes a dramatic transformations, with delusions and visions. She changes from a innocent aspiring girl into passionate and full of emotions and sensual heat woman.
Are all women partially white and partially black swans? Are my two daughters to undergo same dramatic adolescent transformation?
“I felt it. Perfect. It was perfect”
Is life about living it, and feeling it? How much is the experience worth? Being able to live through something, and experience something that have not been experienced before.
Requiem for a dream, on IMDB. Already a classic on its own right. Strong, emotionally loaded story on addictions. On human dreams, desires, aspirations, and the thin line between the abyss and madness, and the sense of belonging, and achievement. Rather intense. Interesting editing, beautiful shots. Perfect.
Everyone should watch it. Everyone will be affected by this movie. Definitely not a “feel good movie” – do not screen it on friendly gatherings 😉 But a movie worth watching. I enjoyed how mom’s innocent addiction to TV shows and chocolate went downhill after simple visit to a doctor. The pills.
Aren’t we all addicted to something? Is it a matter of scale? Is an “innocent” addiction to TV series or chocolate any different, at its core, to heroin addiction? What’s really so different? Dopamine and serotonin injection in the brain works the same way no matter what caused it. Is the addiction or rather the scope of damage done? Is there a hard threshold between “normal” and “abnormal” level of addiction? How much are we able to sacrifice to have the feeling of security, safety, belonging.
I loved the movie, one of the best and strongest movies I’ve seen. That’s the third Darren Aronofski’s movie I’ve seen recently, after Pi and The Black Swan. All highly recommended.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives check also IMDB.
I have watched that film in a dark room, with headphones on, and I think that helped to truly enjoy this moody and dreamy film. The sounds and the images, many scenes have subtly influenced and transferred me into a dream-like tropical jungle. A vary subtle, floating world, blurred between a real story, dreams, myths and surreal images.
Human-made illusions, desires, struggle. “Heaven is overrated. Nothing ever really happens there.” Uncle Boonmee, a farm owner, is dying of kidney disease. He recalls his life, and feels his death is due to karma. He has killed too many communists and pests (through the use of pesticides on his farm). The film starts of with a cow scene, that breaks free, but after wondering into the woods, and getting somewhat lost, is brought back by a farmer who went out looking for it. The monkeys symbolize the communists perhaps, because on one of the still shots the soldiers have captured one and imprisoned it. Human-made boundaries. Symbolism. Nature. Buddhists traditions and the ultimate reconnection with the truth. Can good intentions justify killings (of other human being or insects)?