It is 4:14 AM and there is a heavy rain outside. We’re just two days before Christmas which actually makes me a little sad as the holiday season which began with Halloween is coming to an end. I really shouldn’t think that way but do the same on Saturday night knowing only Sunday remains and then it is back to work. Just like my favorite day of the weekend is Friday evening, my favorite time of the holiday season is just before Halloween. On Friday evening and just before Halloween you have a lot to look forward to whereas now it is coming to an end.
Now that I think about it the same could be said for life in general. In high school there is a certain excitement that all students have for the future and the unknown. Soon the students will graduate and be released from their protective cocoon into the wild where they must find their own way. Some follow a pretty straight path in terms of their life direction but most do not. Some go to college, some do not. The twenties are spent trying to put some form on the direction of their life, trying to figure out what it is they want to do and what goals to set. It is at this time that excitement about the future starts to fade pretty quickly as reality sets in. By thirty it is all but completely gone as ‘the future’ has taken a more solid form which is unlikely to change much for the rest of their lives.
By thirty there probably won’t be any big moves to other states or countries; most have found who their partner will be and have married, perhaps with a kid or two; the career is also pretty much set and unlikely to drastically change.
Then forty appears more quickly than anyone expected. Suddenly we’re all forced to reconcile with the fact that the first half of our lives are now over and we should be where we set out to go back in the early twenties. All of our lives choices and decisions have led us to where we are now and this is a bitter pill to swallow for many as their lives have not turned out as hoped.
I look around and I see divorces are now starting to happen. I hear of many individual struggles such as alcoholism, depression, broken marriages, and even some domestic violence among many other types of problems. Marriages which started out very happy have been battered by the tempest that are children and now just limp along. The youthful enthusiasm for the future is completely dead. The solid form that life had taken shows a lot of wear and for some has crumbled completely. For those whose life has crumbled, I see them becoming very active in religion, joining mens groups, putting on a suit of piety, humbleness and holiness to protect them against the pain life had brought them.
For me, life has turned out pretty well and I am happy. I do miss that youthful excitement for the future and often try to bring it back through mental exercises. It no longer just happens such as it did when I was eighteen. When I was eighteen the excitement of unknowing what the weekend would hold and hopping in a car with my buddies was extremely exciting. I guess the prospect of meeting girls or seeing my girlfriend also had a lot to do with the spontaneous feeling of excitement.
Excitement for me still does occur but it is extremely muted when compared to the excitement I had when I was a teenager. A trip to Japan or back to Ohio is fun and I’m glad but I wouldn’t say I was excited to do these things. I guess the only time I really feel absolutely invigorated is after exercise; it is then that the chemicals in my brain force a different state of mind. I’m happy, motivated and feel as though I can do anything. The youthful vigor returns and I would even say I become excited about the next event, activity or party with friends. But this only lasts until the endorphins wear off and my mind returns to a normal state. I guess one could say I’m actually addicted a little to exercise and the joy these endorphins bring.
*side note – adults are always saying how ‘excited’ they are for this and for that. In corporate sales-land employees are expected to be constantly excited for each new ‘rollout’ the company has decided to inflict on them. For every upcoming event, no matter how mundane adults always say they are ‘excited’ about it. The overuse of the word and the fact that adults do not seem to be very ‘excited’ even though they say they are makes me hate the word ‘excited’ and I have to roll my eyes when adults say it. This is especially true in corporate land where everyone is expected to be ‘excited’ all the time about everything the company does.
The feeling of exercise is much better than that of alcohol. With alcohol you feel pretty good for a short while and to feel even greater must drink more. But with a greater high brings a much greater pain the following day with a hangover which increases in direct proportion to how good you felt when drunk. I’ve found that anxiety also now accompanies hangovers and also causes some depression. I guess it is safe to say alcohol has become much less fun than it was back in college. The cost has become too great for the amount of joy it gives when indulging too much.
Instead, exercise provides a tremendous high and the benefit is a better body which also adds to a great feeling of well being, of hitting a goal and general self esteem. With karate I not only get to fulfill the final piece towards a goal of mine but I also get to feel great while doing it and the feeling afterwards is wonderful. I took a ride up to Bill’s Overlook yesterday and today am feeling fantastic! It doesn’t hurt that Pacifica is an absolutely gorgeous place to ride either.
The time is now 5:12 AM and there are some other things I’d like to do before the day begins so I’ll leave off here. Funny, I thought this post was going to be about the holidays and Christmas. I guess not.