From Completing the John Muir Trail, bottom of Mount Whitney in pure celebration to walking the final ridge of life
Sometimes one has to do things for others or for ones life that give the distinct feeling of creating unfitness. Working a 12 hour night shift to support your family comes to mind. I spent years in the emergency department doing just that. Writing a dissertation while working full time. I did that too. Healthy? Not really. In the big picture? Maybe, who knows. I’ve helped some people through tough times. I completed a PhD and for that my students are mostly glad. I have summers off now to walk long distances with my daughter and wife. In other words that un-healthy generated some space to now do what is-healthy. There is this non-linearity to it all. The parents up late catching a few minutes together and at the crack of dawn to those fresh vocal cords. Healthy? But what parent would trade any of it? There is something then to the actual sacrifice. Something of the actual material that becomes our lives. Sacrifice of our own life, in real terms, generates what comes to define it. Sacrifice for our opinions and needs then too. Our husbands, wives, partners and friends. Each actually made in some way of a sacrificial material that is un-healthy. At least to us, to me, to you. That ego body necessarily takes a hit for the greater good. So now I’m staying up nights with my dying father. Sitting with him, holding his hands as he teeters across the floor. Heartbroken cannot be healthy. Shattered cannot be healthy. Yet. The broader, whole of who I am is expanded in that heartbreak. The narrow me wants so badly to run away, to a wide desert void of responsibility. To run up and over the other side of mountains. Perhaps I’ll have that chance again, and then again I may not. Ecological fitness must be a state of mind. It has to survive sitting up all night holding the one you love. It has to survive ones own demise.