Alarm Clocks, Treadmills and Politics

Alarm Clocks, Treadmills and Politics

This morning I felt queasy.  My queasiness likely due to the Alieve that I have been taking for a sore right arm.  A sore arm acquired when I fell while hiking a couple of weeks ago.

This morning I felt dull and tired. My tiredness likely due to the reality that I worked a thirteen and a half hour day yesterday.  The same day that started out at 3:50 AM in the morning.  The same day that I had a session with my personal trainer before I started my workday.

Queasy, dull and tired I sat  in the health club parking lot and waited for my friend and running buddy.  I didn’t want to be there.  I wanted to be in bed.

My phone beeped and a text message from my friend popped up, “Forgot to set my alarm, coming.” It was clear that he too was having a less than optimal day .

With gym and garment bags in hand I went inside and prepped myself to face the treadmill.  I didn’t want to run on a treadmill.

Mounting the rubberized mat I programmed the machine.  I always start out with a walk, and then quickly push the speed to a run.  Today I started out with a walk, but increased the speed slowly.  I couldn’t go any faster.  Stiff, queasy…. queasy, stiff.

The exercise music on my iPhone annoyed me so I plugged my earbuds into the headphone jack on the treadmill and listened to less than inspiring cable TV news.  Now jogging, the political news was troubling and added to a general sense of unease.

I was sure that I had been running for at least 20 minutes, but a scan of the control panel informed me that I had only been moving for 11 minutes. Everything seemed an effort.

By now my friend was on his treadmill, and he was apologizing for forgetting to set his alarm.  No apology necessary; my focus was on whether I could finish the run or not.  It didn’t feel like it was a good possibility, but I pushed on.

I eventually successfully completed my exercise. I found a chair to sit and wait for my friend to finish.

Afterwards I concluded that today was a successful morning. Why? I started and finished what I set out to do.  I did the best that I could.  I felt slightly less stiff at the end of my exercise, which was an added bonus.

What about my friend?  I believe he had a successful morning too. He didn’t use his alarm for an excuse.  He took responsibility, and did the best he could.  He showed up and ran. He met his commitment.

In part, I showed up because he was expecting me.  In part, he showed up because I was expecting him.  In our concern for each other we wound up also benefiting ourselves. It seems that our society has forgotten this truth.

We live in a society where it has become every man/woman for themselves.  .  A place where it is every racial or religious group for themselves. A place where it is every political party for themselves. When individuals or groups only think about their self-interest, bad things happen.  When individuals or groups think about the greater good, everyone benefits. Why don’t we get it?

Today my goal is to realize that I am part of something greater than myself, my gender, my race or my political beliefs.  Today my goal is to realize that when I go from “me” to “we” I not only improve the lives of others, but I also improve my own life.