My good friend Melanie died yesterday. Age 38. Pancreatic cancer. Not unexpected but still impossible to comprehend.
I figured a good session on the water today would lift my mood, or at least focus my mind elsewhere for an hour.
I agreed to go out in a 4X, and set my alarm for 4:50 am.
When I awoke the sky was pink.
On the 20-minute drive to the lake, Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt came on the radio and I was done for. I drove steadily, through the blur. The car knows the route well anyway.
The lake was calm. Just a very light wind.
I declined the offer to stroke the quad and sat in 3. No setting the pace today, no steering, no decisions. Just timing, technique and effort.
It didn’t work. Everything felt wrong for me and remained that way for the entire session. I was out of synch with my crew.
I moved my foot stretcher. No joy.
When bow said my seat was rigged for a much shorter person, in the middle of the lake I swapped seats with 2. Still no joy.
All the time I fought back the voice in my head that was dishing up excuses and telling me to quit now.
I know, excuses are like arseholes—everyone’s got one and they all stink (thanks Hannah).
Back at the slip, we disembarked in silence, a telling signal. Not an endorphin in sight.
I had tried, physically, but my emotional state had hung like a stubborn grey cloud over the boat.
Rowing nearly always makes me feel good. But not today.
OK, enough of the self-pity. As Mark Manson says in Shut up and be grateful:
…when things seem shitty, don’t forget what’s good, true and beautiful. Remember to shut up and be grateful.
So here goes:
- I am grateful for being alive and healthy.
- I am grateful for the afternoon I spent with my friend Melanie in September.
- I am grateful for being invited to row with others.
Tomorrow will be a better day.