We get the best and worst of weathers in a Galway winter.
Okay, so my pace despite the weather-I had the wind against me the entire way, and it rained twice-makes me happy, because it continues to be on a downward slope. Sorry for the graph. It’s the result of one button click in Google Docs, and by Christ it betrays its origins. While I see many miles and months ahead to get my pace down and the weight off, I’ve already lost a kilo and cut my pace in four weeks. That accomplishment feels fantastic.
The run was glorious. I laughed and shouted at the downpour. What a joy it is to run!
There’s a sorrow in me, a deep sadness for the hurt I’ve caused, the hurt caused to me, and the toll in joy it takes from us. We all lose something fundamental as we get older. We learn that our intent mightn’t be theirs, that they’ll take what they want. We learn about lies and deceit. We set boundaries and build walls to keep out the hurt-causers. We filter what comes in and what we let out, and with that goes spontaneity and free expression.
For the first half of the year I spread hurt, and for the second I (tried) to fix it. Beyond that, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. There’s a part of my life where I treated my friends and families and partners like shit, when I acted for my own benefit at any cost to anyone else. I reached out to everyone with apologies and offered what I could to make things right.
Since then I’ve worked with a therapist and a journal and blame and feedback to make myself a better person. My biggest hope is that I never, ever repeat my past. My wife, my kids and a few friends have come back with amazing compassion to give me a second chance, even when its for their own reasons. I want to be worthy of that.
The Power of NO
People have taught me so much in 2017. How it’s okay to cut out the bad actors who’ll take and never give back. Why it’s good to be vulnerable and trust. That I’ve got to give to receive. When to be compassionate and when to be strong and stern. But past that, I want to close the book on the old me because he looked to be a bit of a cunt when he wasn’t being a cringy edgelord.
No’s a powerful word. No marks boundaries that have to be respected, mine and theirs, which I used to struggle to respect. Oh, I went a bit too far, who cares? Oh they said no, but let’s see how far we can push that. To hear or say the word, that’s easy. To listen to “no”, to respect the sentiment, takes discipline and respect.
Caira and Garrett have been huge in my life. They’re both growing up and maturing and changing in unique ways that’s a joy to watch.
And so I both grew and shrunk in 2017. While I learned a great deal about compassion and abuse and healing, I also got back into running and hiking with a bloody-minded earnestness. Time and again I went out on the trail, set new paces, and knocked kilograms off the scale. Running is such a fantastic activity. There’s no before or later on the track, no bills or worries or sorrows, but only the next breath, the next step.
The funny thing about running is that I didn’t know I could do it. When I jogged every time I went to the gym, I ran-walked-ran in the style of C25K. I never set out to see how far I could go at a stretch at my own pace. And holy fuck, look at me now running five kilometres three times a week! More man than man. I ran my first friendly-competitive 5k on Saturday. While I finished near the bottom of the pack, fuck the details because I finished. I crossed that line, which I could never have done a year ago.
My next big milestone will be the 10k Rock and Road in Kinvara in March. I can’t wait!
With running, hiking. In the week before Christmas I hiked the Western Way in Connemara between Maam Cross and Oughterard. With sights such as the Maam Valley and Hill of Doon, the Way is a gorgeous, unique way to experience the windswept and bleak Connemara countryside. My next trips (I hope) will be to Ballyvaughan to hike the Burren Way, or to Letterfrack for a weekend at Connemara National Park.
So that’s me. Tired and sad and wiser and satisfied to know I’ve grown.
We make our own happiness.
Taken on the Western Way in early December 2017.
Taken on the road from the Hill of Doon to Oughterard.