I arrived around 8 a.m. at the Lower Arroyo casting ponds to do my annual birthday run that I’ve done for about 32 years now. I mentally divided the lap around the pool into seasons, and attempted to review each year of my life with each corresponding lap.
The day was overcast and cool, and somehow I felt very much in the past. In fact, as I ran, I had the sensation of viewing a single life, in the sense that it is only one life, no more, no less, and that I should attempt to derive lessons from the life that I “take with me.”
During childhood, I realized, perhaps more than ever before, all the opportunities that my parents afforded me. While we did not have the best nor happiest family, there was a stable home and regular meals. I realized that I was hungry for something as soon as I was able to think about things. And I pursued that something better, something more, in just about everything I did, which included poetry, painting, drumming, long conversations with friends about the meaning of life, gardening, meditation, and even drugs.
In many ways, that was good, since I had the chance to attempt to think for myself, and make mistakes, and attempt to evolve my own value judgements. On the other hand, I really should have had more parental guidance. I think I wanted much more pressure, and I felt I was able to do so much more at an early age. Nevertheless, I don’t harbor a bit of resentment towards my parents. I love them more than ever, and talk to each of them daily – despite that both have been deceased for many years.
I saw my life as the pursuit of meaning, of love, and of home, though I don’t think I realized it in those terms all those years. All too often, I did like everyone else does and engaged in the pursuit of money, thinking that money would provide my life with real meaning, love, and home. I think I still battle that one, since we all need the things that money can help us achieve, but we actually don’t need money, per se.
I cried the hardest when I thought of my acts of cruelty towards Dolores before we got married. It wasn’t intentional, and we were both homeless at the time (1984), and we managed to overcome that. But it still pains me, and I vow every day to not let my darker side ever overtake my actions again. And money never can buy love. Money bought our house, but we had to make it a home, which is an art, and requires love. And therein, in the act of lovingly creating a home, we found meaning.
And time goes on. When Dolores died two years ago, I relived that pain while running, and felt her soft hand caressing my forehead, saying both hello and goodbye.
By the time I finished running, I was in physical pain. I still, as I write these words, feel in that timelessness that the birthday run afforded me.
I realized, to my chagrin, that much of my life I was a taker, expecting others to carry the ball for me. Lately, I feel I am again somewhat imbalanced, giving, not receiving as much. So my gift to myself is to continue to seek the mysteries of life, to seek meaning, love, and home, and to allow myself to receive as much as I give.
In many ways, I felt that I died today, that some part of me died away, and that I am like a new child eager and ready for a new life. Too bad I am a new child in this broken down body….