Good morning. What a day. This morning I will take my children to school and get to enjoy a long day walking up and down vast parking lots throughout the mid south, as I perform my duties as a parking lot sweeper. I am afforded the opportunity to strap a 10lb blower to my back and enjoy what will probably be a 15 mile “training walk” to help prepare me for the Sylamore 50k, which is coming up next Saturday. I love the days when I get to sweep, especially when I don’t have too many things “pressing” in my mental rolodex. I walk up one parking lot and down another, weaving in and around tractor trailer after tractor trailer through seemingly endless miles. Sometimes I get so deep in thought, hypnotized by the buzzing of the backpack blower, that I will forget what I am doing, or sometimes I might laugh out loud, and sometimes I will cry. It just depends on what topic I have swirling around in the back of my head. Either way, its just my imagination and I try to enjoy it. I sometimes wonder what the security cameras might see when they look at a 240lb, 39 year old covered in dirt, wearing a backpack blower and laughing (or crying) to himself. It doesn’t really matter, but neither do most things.
Yesterday I stumbled across the famous Jim Valvano speech that he gave on ESPN while accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY’s in 1993. If you have seen it, I hope that you will be moved to watch it again. If you have not seen it, well…you owe it to yourself. In his speech he says this,
“To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think–spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think, and cry, that’s a heck of a day.” –Jim Valvano
I think this is not only beautiful but accurate. I do all three of these things most everyday. I am very emotional, and I get moved to tears easily, not like falling all over myself ugly cries, but I will tear up over a happy thought. Jimmy V’s life is over, and mine will be soon enough. It was interesting to watch him in front of so many people accept his award with the knowledge, even considering all his accomplishments, all his money, and all his connections, he would be dead very shortly. What’s even more interesting is that is the same for 100% of us, and everyone before us, and will be the same for everyone after us. There is an Italian proverb that reads, “At the end of the game, the Pawn and the King go into the same box.” I like quotes like this because it helps to simplify life for me. People like Jimmy V and quotes like the aforementioned help remind me that I have little control over my fate, but only the option of how much satisfaction or resentment I want to get out of my time here.
Yesterday, I was playing with Lift Heavy Run Long stuff. I added a new member to the facebook group and he sent me a text which read, “Happy to be part of LHRL…how does this work?”. **On a side note, the follow up text read , “I love you”, which was sweet, but not meant for me unfortunately, because I really like this guy** Being that Pedro and I are driving around in a 1 ton vehicle, applying pre-emergent for a weed control business, so we can then prepare a parking lot sweeper, only after picking up women’s booty shorts with a 3″ inseam with LHRL insignia on the ass, and playing with a Facebook page, it was ironic that anyone would ask me “how something works”. I told him that we don’t have ANY IDEA how it works. That’s the beauty of it. I don’t really have an end game in mind. We are selling some tee shirts, and shorts and sh*t, but don’t have any plans of really monetizing the thing. I guess I just enjoy watching people come together. I like being part of something, and I like people to like being part of something. There are no requirements for Lift Heavy Run Long and you don’t have to lift heavy or run long, I just like people being comfortable with other groups of people. If people want to go outside and play, I want for them to have a group of people who like doing those types of things (if you want to be added to the group, PLEASE, let me know), a place where outdoor folks can drop bait and see who bites. I like the people that I have met through lifting and running, and I want everyone to meet everyone. “You gotta meet this guy/gal”. We have all said or heard that. Well, that’s the way that I feel about 100 different people, and I want for as many of those people to meet as possible. I realize that sounds ridiculous, and if you don’t like it than I truly want for you to fu*k off (I mean that), cause I am gonna run with it. I like the thought of relationships being established and goals being met because of something that I was a part of and included in. I like the feeling of being a part of something all-inclusive where anyone is welcome, but we can all be recognized on a subset of interests. My lifelong best friend and his awesome wife sent me a picture earlier this week of her sitting on his lap with their new LHRL sweatshirts. It made me so happy!! I’m not sure why exactly, but it REALLY choked me up. I guess it was because I have people who are willing to support me in anything that I do, even if there is no end game or vision of what I am trying to accomplish…they just blindly support me. Anyways, where was I? Oh, I re-read the text:
“Happy to be part of LHRL…how does this work?”
I thought about how this direct quote was synonymous with just about every conversation I have ever had with God. Happy to be part of this life…how does this work? I mean, I’m glad to be here, but what the hell am I supposed to do. It seems like a fair question, and I think man has spent all of our existence trying to figure it out. I know that I have become motion sick just contemplating the answers to my existence, but I think if I want to derive much happiness in my day to day life, I need to look at it as simply as Jimmy V and LHRL. I need to try and find the emotion in the small things, and not wait until the big things happen. I want to enjoy the thrill that I get when a member tags us on Instagram, or is seen wearing a shirt, or I spot a bumper sticker. I feel that I get a great deal of pleasure from the feeling of community, and the sense of being welcome. I want to view a successful day as being a day where I laugh, think, and cry, instead of a trying to chase days where I make sh*tloads of money, or achieve some kind of fame or recognition. I could wait for those days my whole life and never get them. I want to enjoy the days of my life through the eyes of a dying man, and take the risks and experience the pain while traveling towards the pleasure. I want to surround myself with people and try to build as many relationships as possible. I don’t have any idea how any of this “works”, but I don’t get the feeling that the answer has much to do with solidarity or isolation. I want my kids and my family to see me as someone who, not only didn’t have the answers, but didn’t need them to be happy. Hell, I don’t even the questions, let alone where to find the answers. I think if I asked the question, “where do I go from here?”, the answer would be “you ARE here, you dumbf*ck. Now start enjoying it before it’s time to go.” I hope that each of you has a nice day. I hope that you laugh, and think, and are moved to tears…and trust me, if you are having problems finding the tears, invest 12 minutes of your life to watching the Jimmy V speech. You will thank me for it, unless your boss catches you and you get fired…in which case you will kick my ass for it.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,
A great article . Great advice from Jimmy V. I will research cyberspace and find his article. Each day I try to find sunshine in someone .. When I moved to OB, it was the girl who takes your order at McDonald’s on Getwell. My hope is that , I can make her feel as special as she makes . What a no nothing job she has, but she takes it seriously. It is reflected in her actions and her voice. Coach would be so proud of you..
Thanks Mrs. Coach.
I hope that you clicked on the Jimmy V link and enjoyed it. It’s pretty emotional, but also pretty awesome.