Monday, November 2, 2015

Choosing One's Most Difficult Act

I have mentioned before that I take a half-hour walk each morning at 5:30(ish). The benefits of this are many, but I am certainly not going to become a health blogger. (Before I do that, I should probably stop eating takeout food three nights a week...)

But there is one benefit that occurred to me this morning on my walk. At least, I think it is a benefit:

The most difficult thing I do every day is self-imposed. For me, it's getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. The actual action; that 10 second struggle of lifting my big, fat, sleepy head off of the pillow, swinging my seven-hundred-pound legs out of bed and wobbling (and I do wobble) down the hall and out the door is just plain miserable. I hate getting up early more than I hate just about any other mundane activity.

There is good in this; there has to be. There is, of course, the simple satisfaction of knowing that I have done it. Also, it is a kind of life-control implicit in the act. I determine my most difficult moment of the typical day. (I say "typical," of course, in exclusion of unpredictable things that could be much worse and sometimes are.)

Maybe the practice of walking at an ungodly hour is not unlike that of martial artist who punches a tree over and over in order to toughen his hands and his mind. It's not a great act, in and of itself, but the repetition of the act lends itself to slowly accumulating strength, both within and without.

I'm sure this cannot be an original idea -- that choosing one's most difficult act of a day is beneficial -- but I don't think I have heard it articulated before. Somewhere in my head (sometimes subconsciously and sometimes in full awareness) the things I do during the day are easier by comparison. Stop at the store for milk when I would rather go right home after work? -- drive the boys to an activity? -- go shopping for winter clothes? -- bring the car for service?

Meh. It's not a cold, solitary walk in the dark of a morning before a busy day... I already brought that on myself.


  1. Yes, it feels as if admitting to liking Phil Collins is almost as socially unacceptable as flashing a KKK membership card.

    I think he became too popular in the 80s and that particular style of music - I'm thinking of Sussudio (sp?) - hasn't aged well. But the first two albums have some great tracks on them and he also did a really good job filling Peter Gabriel's shoes in Genesis, so the vitriol is quite undeserved. Interestingly, the anti-Collins posts have prompted a suprisingly strong reaction.

    Perhaps if more people had heard 'The Roof is Leaking', Collins would be treated with less contempt.

    1. Couldn't have put it better, Steerforth. Those first two solo albums were wonderful. And I acttually prefer his era in Genesis to Gabriel's, up until Invisible Touch. The studio side of Three Sides Live is another overlooked gem...

  2. Maybe *this* is why people run marathons...

  3. making myself do difficult things is a character fault most puzzling to my friends

  4. making myself do difficult things is a character fault most puzzling to my friends