There Are No Winners In The Race Against Time

…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling morose, I said to my wife, “I feel my time is running out.” To which she responded, “Oh boo, it is for all of us.”

I knew my preacher spouse is profound, every Sunday I am more and more impressed. But this gem is one for the ages.

I am 80. People don’t live too much longer than that. Sure, there are plenty of nonagenarians and if I get there, I will shoot for 100.

Meanwhile, making it to next week feels challenging enough. Here are some thoughts about that.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

As a former marathoner, I always cheered for the tortoise. I ran, but in the middle of the pack.

I raced for my personal win. No headlines noted it. I knew, though.

That is why, these days, I consider walking to the end of the block and back a victory.

Stopping for Rest is Just Fine

That same profound wife went into a cleaning frenzy yesterday, with significant results. I didn’t take part.

Our son and I spruced up the kitchen floor, but I had to stop often to relieve my back pain.

I was quickly back to my recliner, reading, or doing the New York Timescrossword puzzle. Could I give the excuse, “I was trying to keep out of the way?”

Maybe It Isn’t a Race At All

We have a small clock on our bedroom wall, and sometimes at night, I hear it. Tick, tick, tick, second by second. Sometimes it needs a new battery but otherwise is just ticks along.

Isn’t this the way our time goes? We look forward to something, expecting future joys but speeding too fast to see the ‘now.’

Who Really Wants to Know Where It Ends?

One of my races was Grandma’s, along the Lake Superior shore in Minnesota. It is a beautiful course that had a unique aspect. You could see the finish from the start. Although it began in Two Harbors, there, 26.2 miles away, was the Duluth skyline.

It was a mixed blessing. It was discouraging because Duluth didn’t seem to get closer. That same perception, however, made me keep my eyes on the lake and the cheering people along the way.

Astoundingly, maybe, this race against/with time is one where we are all participants. You can’t be a spectator. So instead of grinding it out, set your own pace. The only goal is to take one stride at a time.

Look back in wonder at your journey

In Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each person introduces themselves with their first name followed by “..and I am an alcoholic”. This is an essential identification since it embodies the First Step, “We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable”. Moreover, ‘alcoholic’ defines the person as nothing else can do for this not an ‘illness’ to be cured but a fact of life for that individual. It is, simply put, who they are.

One hears the term “recovering alcoholic” to describe someone who had a drinking problem but no longer imbibes, which of course is a case of semantics. At least they don’t say “recovered.” Any dyed-in-the-wool 12 Stepper will tell you, it is only One Day at a Time!

Another common theme of meetings is what they call the “drunkalog”, the story-telling about the endless days and nights of constant drinking or seeking a drink. If the non-alcoholic were to drop in they might think this was harping on the negative instead being optimistic about the future. The thing is, “The Past” is a part of the person. In fact, it could be said that we are the past and so what? If a newcomer has 30 days of sobriety then, in addition to a bunch of lost weekends, they have a month of new friends and many laughs.

In other words, those who have gotten clean and sober do not call themselves alcoholics in derision but in thanksgiving. The past simply becomes who we were at various times in our life. Now, one day at a time, we might make better decisions. At the very least, we try to make the ongoing “past” more meaningful and fun.

%d bloggers like this: