Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quantity or Quality?

"... I received the usual lecture about slowing up, losing weight, limiting the cholesterol intake. It happens to men, and I think doctors have memorized the litany. It had happened to so many of my friends. The lecture ends, “Slow Down. You’re not as young as you once were.”  And I have seen so many begin to pack their lives in cotton wool, smother their impulses, hood their passions, and gradually retire from their manhood into a kind of spiritual and physical semi-individualism. In this they are encouraged by wives and relatives, and it such a sweet trap.

Who doesn’t like to be the center of concern? A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase of life span. In effect, the head of the house becomes the youngest child. And I have searched for myself this possibility with a kind of horror. For I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard or too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I've lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not a punishment. I did not want to surrender my fierceness for a small gain in yardage My wife married a man; and I saw now reason why she should inherit a baby... And in my own life I am not willing to trade quality for quantity...I see too many men delay their exits with a sickly, slow reluctance to leave the stage. It's bad theater as well as bad living. I am very fortunate in having a wife who likes being a woman which means that she likes men, not elderly babies." John Steinbeck Travels with Charley(pg 20)

Why am I posting this excerpt from Steinbeck? As I read this; I imagine an older stubborn, proud, man who was about to embark on a long arduous journey who refused to become a burden on his family and friends and who refused to stop living just because  of his age or his physical condition. I admire his vigor and his resilience.

The main reason I am posting this is because I see a lot of similarities to the feelings Stienbeck is expressing and the way I feel sometimes. If I can add from my own journey; I would like to add a few comments to the rant above.

  • I have lost weight and gotten active so I can live life and enjoy myself not to prolong life and postpone death. Life is not about how many years you can sneak by death but about being healthy enough to enjoy every year we are blessed with.
  • I am not interested in hearing about all the things I can't or shouldn't do. If I want to have a big juicy burger or a cold beer that doesn't mean I am going to get fat again. It simply means I wanted to eat a burger and drink a beer.
  • I don't care about having the biggest biceps or lifting the most weight. I want to be strong enough to do whatever I chose to do. I exercise so that I can live; I do not live so that I can exercise
  • We are meant to live our lives to the maximum, we are meant to have a lot of fun and help a lot of people and bring a lot of glory to God; and I, like John Steinbeck resent the notion that I should forgo the quality of life just to add to the quantity.

Not that any person or event has prompted this blog... just felt the need to say it aloud... Now... time to get moving I have to get up early in the morning and go running. I hope to have my Bike and a Kayak this weekend... I am pumped

Thanks as always to anyone who may be following along-

Which do you chose Quality or Quantity?

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