Sunday, November 23, 2008

Too Old to Keep Living and Too Young to Give Up on Life

That didn't really come out as well as it sounded in my head while I was driving back from Clinton. It sounded much more profound late at night with stars over head and a car full of sleeping family. Highway 7 is a great place for me to collect my thoughts.

I need to preface this blog post by sharing an observation of life that I believe is one of the great universal truths.

Everything works in cycles. Life especially. Buddhists believe in a large arcing cycle of life and death. I believe that our attitude in life cycles as well.

In other words, I'm bipolar and I go from happy to sad and back again. As I climb out of depression and feel good about my efforts, I know in the back of my mind at some point, I'll be sliding down again. This is only logical if you think about the alternative, which makes no sense what so ever. That is either a non-stop decline, non-stop ascension or a complete leveling. Of coure you go through ups and downs, the trick being that it's always two steps up, one step down type of cycling.

So, I'm on an upward cycle which made me think of the catchy blog title. Too old to keep living like this or too old to keep living a life I'm not sure I want to live would be the un-abridged first half of the title.

Too young to give up on life and all of my dreams and plans would be the un-abridged second half.

Oh yeah, I'm at that point where I'm taking stock of my life and judging myself by my younger self's standards. Richard Bach who wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull also used to write a lot about this type of self-assessment. If you ever want to feel inspired and depressed at the same time, you should read his book, 'Running From Safety'.

So what happened? Long story I can't comment on in public but basically I'm assessing my life and the person I've become. So far, I'm not that thrilled and I've seen to forgotten a few things about myself.

Children act as wonderful mirrors if you're willing to look at your reflection. Every time I encourage my kids to be stronger willed, self-disciplined and ambitious I eventually have to ask myself am I setting a good example of those traits. As a perfectionist the answer is always no.

The first manifestation of my self-inflicted inferiority complex is exercise. I'm exercising, doing the things I've been telling myself I should be doing if I only had the time. Exercise is great for upward cycles because it has multiple positive impacts. Exercise releases dopamine into your brain and chemically make you feel better. In addition, you tend to look better when you exercise which increases self confidence. And of course exercise makes you healthier, which is always good.

So I'm working out, running stairs and am getting ready to start a morning run routine. Fun times, but I definitely feel better since I've started.

Another manifestation which ties in with the exercise, is goal setting. I have real tangible goals. Not all of them are tangible, but a few new ones are and I'm working towards accomplishing those goals.

It's late and I'm falling asleep so I'll have to post more later.