Saturday, September 06, 2008

coming out of retirement

i haven't done a race since Ironman New Zealand.

not a one.



i know. considering all the training i've been doing since then, you'd figure i'd get off my fat lazy rear end and put all the effort to good use and sign up for a race and live out a purpose for all the exercise. as several professors of mine told me at different times in different ways (and in a very different context): there has to be an end point for a journey undertaken (or, to use their academic lingo, there has to be an ontology for the epistemology).

me personally, i've never looked at things with quite such a paradigm.

oh, i've set goals and sought purposes and looked for meanings as much as anyone--in school, work, athletics, traveling, paying bills, looking for places to eat, figuring out what to do on weekends, talking with family and friends and utter strangers off the street, and generally living out the bizarre state that we call life in the absurd context of the profound mystery that is the cosmos and ultimately infinite.

but i've never insisted that everything has a point (again, an ontology). i've entirely recognized that it's entirely possible there is no point. no goal. no purpose. nor meaning. borrowing the biblical tone ascribed to Moses in his conversations with Yahweh on Mt. Sinai, maybe things are just because they are, and nothing more. maybe it was just an act of agnostic chance. or an act of divine curiousity. who knows. nobody knows. at least, i don't know.

in which case, i've been willing to recognize sometimes it's really just about the journey itself. the experiences on the way. the things that happen. the discoveries you make. the lessons you learn. the memories and objects and people and animals and earth and sky and water and tastes and touch and sounds and smells and sights and insights and thoughts you accumulate as you go.

all of it. all of it in and of itself. and your self. the self. you. as much a part of everything around you as you go.

which means that the journey is really about you. and discovering and learning not just about the world and life and all that is within and without it. but about you. and what it means--what it truly means--for you to be alive.

so i've been living.

and taking a journey.

and in the past few months there's been quite some changes in my life. and i suspect that there's going to be quite some more. and it's given me more than enough to deal with to occupy my time and energy. enough that i haven't even been able to think about doing a race, and been very much content to hold to my training routine.

but having said all this, it looks like i'm coming out of retirement.

my friends and i do a charity race every year: the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. it raises money for the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation. we use the race as an excuse for us to hold an annual reunion and catch up on each other's lives (since most of us are now living all over the country). that, and it's for a good cause.

i had originally not planned on doing the race this year. to focus on my career and save money in a tight job market (and yes, even for those of us looking for a tenure-track academic job, the job market is still tight). but my friends insisted on all of us doing this race, and shelled out the money for my entry fee, and for good measure actually went ahead and submitted a race registration on my behalf.

so it looks like i'm going to have a race after all.

and i guess my journey continues.

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