Simple Twist of Fate

So, as I write, today sees the start of the European Masters Athletics Championships in Zittau, Germany (with bits and pieces being held in Poland and the Czech Republic too). The Opening Ceremony was yesterday evening. And I’m not there.

I’m sad about that. My previous blog describes what led up to the decision not to go. Sad or not, I think it was the right decision, because my injured foot is still very painful. There is no way I could have raced on it, or spent any length of time standing around with my camera, as part of the media crew. I’ll keep an eye on the results, of course, but I do feel very detached from events this time. This is the third major Masters athletics event I’ve missed in the last two years, and I was pretty much good for nothing except taking photos at a fourth event too.

I do wish there were some easy lessons to take away from this. It might help my state of mind at the moment. Actually, I think there probably is a lesson. It’s along the lines of “Life’s a bitch”. Maybe that’s just too easy, though.

I have a friend who is convinced that life works on “yin and yang” principles – night follows day, for everything good, something bad happens, and so on. I could be persuaded at the moment. 2006 to 2009 were great years for me on the track, 2010 to 2012 have so far been the exact opposite. It just seems a bit random to see it all that way, though. I trained and worked every bit as hard the whole time, but sometimes the results came, and sometimes they just didn’t. Maybe it’s just as relevant to see life in terms of “today you’re the fox, tomorrow, you’ll be the chicken”? Perhaps that’s just “yin and yang” described another way? Personally, I’m more of a Tao-ist, and I’ve referenced Tucker Zimmerman’s excellent song “The Taoist’s Tale” previously in my blogging (words here) Do read these. You’ll see what I mean.

Anyway, I’ve got to be optimistic, either way. Perhaps some good’s going to come my way.

It’s also exactly a year since I left “real” work for the portfolio of things I now do to fill out a day. It was important to me to take a solid and very significant break from my “old world” before embarking on the new one. My blogs in September and October last year record the ups and downs of doing that (mostly ups, save for the lonely bits), and guess what? I’m going to do something similar again quite soon. This might be the final blog before that happens.

I have rented an appartment in Chamonix, in the French Alps, for almost all of September and on into October. My wife will be joining me for some of that time. It’ll be a very different break to last year’s however. Then, I really did have a sense of “escaping from it all”, albeit with a sense of purpose attached to travelling out to compete in the European Masters Games. Lonely or not, I also needed some solid time in my own company, I think. And I don’t suppose a day has gone by since I returned home from that adventure when I’ve not thought about it, re-lived bits of it, looked at the photos, or mentioned it in conversation.

Chamonix became my chosen destination because I feel I have “unfinished business” there. I’d planned to stay a little longer last October, until heading into the town one evening for a meal, I realised everywhere (and I mean everywhere, except a kiosk selling chocolate and stuff) was closed. It was the loudest possible message telling me it was time to go home. I was extending my hotel day by day, and I left for home the very next morning. There was no wrench of leaving, as a result. It just seemed the obvious thing to do. You could build good philosophy around that. The “yin” of being there, the “yang” of leaving. The “Tao-ism” of not knowing what was coming up.

Apart from a Tunnel booking, a couple of overnight stops on the way out, and the appartment booking itself, nothing of the rest of the trip has been pre-arranged. That’s not to say I don’t have a “wish list”, of course….

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