Saturday, September 13, 2014

Asleep at the wheel

Music is one of my greatest loves in life. When people ask what’s the best thing about living now, my answer is always “that I can have music at the touch of a button.” Think about that. Think about the days when you either had to make music yourself, or had to go somewhere to hear music. You couldn’t have a string quartet follow you down the road, or out in the fields. Music had its own place and time. 

Now we can listen to what we want when we want. It really is a miracle.
Some people don’t like running with music. Sometimes this is for practical reasons like the inability to hear what’s behind you, and some just like the silence. Some believe that music restricts their efforts at better run times because of our tendency to run with the beat.

I can run without music, but I find that hamster wheel unappealing. I’ll either get a musical phrase stuck in my head (and I dare you to get “Straight up now, tell me do you really wanna luv me for-ever –oh, oh, oh!” out of your head once it’s there!) or I grab a metaphorical stick and pound away and a metaphorical dead horse. And THAT’S usually about work which is one of the things I really try not to think about when I run. 

I have always lost myself, and found myself in music. Oh and lyrics. The music reels you in, and in some cases that’s enough to catch you, but lyrics, words sculpted into rhythm, that’s the true hook that will keep you on the line.

10 Years is one of my favorite groups to run to. The urgency in their songs lends itself to pumping legs and driving adrenaline, and the under-line, if you get my drift, tends to follow my natural breathing patterns. Oh, and then there are the lyrics. 

Running yesterday the song "Soma" came on. I've heard it a million times, a billion times, but never really heard it. Or at least, never really took the words on board. But yesterday they got through. Yesterday the song hit my headphones about the same time I realized that I’d made the appointment at the vets for that very day even though I knew I was working and that I couldn’t get to the vet’s that day. My dogs’ jabs are overdue and they need them, like, NOW! And right then 10 Years sang :

“Stay asleep at the wheel and never
Care enough.
The crash is coming.
Are we destined to see a tragedy?
Look away.
The crash is coming”

And as often happens when music and lyrics join hands, an epiphany occurs.

At that very moment I realized that I have been “asleep at the wheel” for a long time. Really, that part of it wasn’t like being struck down on the road to Damascus. I had figured out that I was just treading water in my life in a lot of ways long before, but that metaphor of what happens to us when we ARE asleep at the wheel, that was the light bulb moment.

Life is dangerous, scary and sad enough without abdicating what control we do have.

If I am not doing the things I know I should be doing to get out of the situation I’m in; if I’m willing to let things go undone knowing it will be more work down the road, or letting someone else choose my course, then I have no one to blame but myself when the crash occurs. And no one else to blame if, as often happens, others are hurt as well.

It is time to get back to basics. Back to Mindfulness. Back to Thornton Wilder and living life ‘every, every moment while we live it.”  It’s time to wake up and take back control of my life.

Or as 10 Years might put it “Wake up dead fly!”

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