Monday, May 24, 2010

Victory Day

As though to punctuate the importance of this day (and to purge myself of regret for all that is miserable within), I began by riding my bicycle at 6:30 a.m. this morning to the Village of Appleton and back. The air was extraordinarily still. The sun was at times hidden behind small clusters of ominous grey clouds, but for the most part it is a sunny, hot and humid day. Because today is a holiday, there wasn’t much traffic along the ribbon of road. As I pedaled, I reflected upon the state of affairs within my private domain. The prospect of personal renewal is never lost on me, likely because it is so worthy of consideration. I have once again set upon today as a day to mark my victory over all the demons which so regularly plague me. I should of course be laughing at myself instead, because this is hardly the first time I have done something like this. However, I persist. There was after all a time when I thought I would never be able to quit smoking, but I did. And I have never revisited the habit, not once.

It hardly bears observation that one’s health is the most important element in one’s life. Notwithstanding the truth of that comment, I confess that I often effectively snap my fingers at it. Eventually, as one ages, the importance of anything other than health wanes. I’ve all the things I shall ever require. As inclined as one might be to indulge oneself as the end of life approaches ever nearer, the nature of those indulgences can change dramatically. The thought of staying out all night is no longer imaginable or even desirable. This is not to suggest that there are not visceral pleasures to be had late in life, but they do change. Like my Electra bicycle, it is built for comfort not speed. Goodbye, Garlatti! Hello, balloon tyres!

Regrettably, health can become like any other aspiration, a mere fiction, a commodity. Or, even worse, a hackneyed undertaking which loses its appeal with time. On the other hand, unlike most other commodities, it can actually improve with proper use and attention. It is difficult to imagine on the first day of a workout that the facility to perform those tasks will improve, but it does happen. The fruits of one’s labour are not as readily apparent as the fallout from some of our less admirable prosecutions, and this naturally diminishes the immediate appeal.

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