This year has scared the Dickens right out of me. Which is a bummer because everyone needs some Dickens. Dickens is a genius.
You might think I'm about to wax Scroogey – you know, due to the Season of Christmas and it's attached Season of the Scrooge – you might think this. Today, however, I'm not talking about Scrooge and his array of set-your-ass-straight ghosts. Today, I'm talking about the mighty Dickensian invention of "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Let's get that bad boy in it's entirety, shall we?
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way."Isn't that brilliant? Yes it is. In fact, if I were a judge at the Literature Pageant, I'd crown that hot 'n tarty piece of verse the Miss Universe of Literature. Or Mister – if that's how you like your tarts.
This year has been great in so many ways. But in other ways, it has been unbearable. The Yahoos are healthy and smart, we have a nice house and nice food. We have cars that work and money saved if they break down. Spouse has a great job and my job has blossomed into the McDreamy of tax jobs.
We live in a great town with an even greater row of neighbors. Luxuries around here abound. We are taking piano lessons from the best and Spouse bought us a grand piano to match. We have heat and air; electricity and water. We have more clothes than we know what to do with and three full bathrooms, complete with a lifetime of mold. And if all of that doesn't seem overly improvident, add two – count 'em – two plane rides for the family in a year's time. We have everything before us.
Then there's me, who in this year's season of darkness, has lost hope and allowed the winter of despair to swallow me whole. That winter of despair is a scary place. It has scared the Dickens right out of me. It's not sadness, really. It's just... nothing.
So what's the trouble? Well, on the surface it seems the problem is running, and the lack therof. I've spent most of the year injured and haven't been able to run. My mileage for the last few years has been in the ball park of 2500. This year I'll be lucky to make it to 1000, and that counts walking the Yahoos to and from school.
I mull over the situation often. I spend a lot of time alone, so naturally, I mull.
Is my "identity" attached to running? Not really, I tell myself. (Other than I have a blog and a nickname with "run" in it... har har.) I don't require that people know I run. I don't include running or races or anything running-related in any conversation with those who do not run. I don't hang my medals for show, or boast of any PR, and my car will never have a running sticker on it. Ever. I'm kind of weird about stickers on my car anyway. As if I want complete strangers to know anything about me.
Do I miss the races? Not really. Racing isn't really my thing. I'm not all that great at it. It's great to meet new people, and become reacquainted with those you don't see often, but the racing is not essential.
Is it the friends? Yes, it's the friends. Not going to lie. I miss the conversation. I miss knowing what is going on in their lives. I miss the giggles and the things we'd see while most were still asleep. I miss the problems we'd muddle through and the many available solutions. I miss the various insights and I even miss some of the arguments. I spend a lot of time alone. I work alone. And now I exercise alone (if you want to call it that.)
Is it the endorphins? Yes, it's the endorphins. Running produces dopamine. I need dopamine and I'm getting none. I also have this fairly extreme hormone problem with which no one in the medical community seems to be able to help. "Here take this!" they'll say, and "Here take that!" After 20 years of taking side-effect-inflicting thises and make-it-worse-than-ever thats, you give up. "It's only two weeks!" they'll say. "You'll be fine a few days!" One doctor even said, "I feel bad for your husband."
Those two weeks? They add up to SIX years so far. Six. And we're just getting started! And the feeling bad for the husband bit? Spouse gets a nice long break from me every day. Barring an out-of-body moshing, such an amenity is not available to me. 'Sides, I cook him dinner and service his dickens.
Running has always kept that in check. Running provided that extra push needed to get me through the rough patches. It's worked like a charm for 15 happy years. Tragically, this luscious 'n loving endorphin elixir has been MIA for close to 10 months. What's worse, is I'm feeling okay now but the prospect of a re-injury has terrified me to the point where I don't dare start again.
See? Dickens has been scared right out of me.
So what do I do? Great question. There's nothing anyone else can do (and if you try you'll find I'm less than affable.) I just have to figure it out. Replace the despair with hope...that's what I need to do. That, and figure out how to put back my Dickens after it was scared right out of me.
Perhaps I'll start with "A Tale of Two Cities" and a book report. I guess I could also find a "Christmas Carol" showing. But I'm all like, "Again? Like, I have it memorized."