The last day of the year, the last of a not-so-ideal (read:terrible) year. I wonder how many ways an assessment of the year can be made, and how different it would look when done from different perspectives. My training log reads:
Total for 2011
Swim: 217 km, 77:48:06
Bike: 5,664.5 km, 223:10:56
Run: 1,836.7 km, 178:26:56
That’s a lot of work done, and many, many hours. But am I better athlete at the end of it all? Perhaps it’s not for me to say, but I’ve learnt a lot about myself, the sport, and the people who do it. I look at the medals that hang on my window, bountiful year, but somehow less satisfying than the last.
I look at my academic results – ambivalence; or is it nonchalance? Could have done better, but I could have done worse. Not happy, not satisfied, not content. And yet, not upset, not regretful and not angry. Work harder – that’s the standard resolve. But I’ve done all I can, and will continue to give all I’ve got.
Last night, a friend that I haven’t caught up with in a while asked, with the usual perceptiveness: don’t you hate when things always go wrong just when they seem to be going really well? I nodded in agreement; the whole year has been a cycle, where everything vacillates from good, better, awesome, and then downright horrid. I told her, now you know how I feel, I’ve got one more day to this horrid year, and I’m hoping for the best. After last night, all I can say is: ditto.
I’ve been roaming around a lot on my own lately, as if trying to find a direction or a goal. I enjoy that wandering, the constant search for that inchoate object at the end. But there’s also that loneliness and the solitude. It hits you when you least expect it, and lasts much longer than it should. As I trudged up hill after hill under the scorching sun today, I thought about how all that talk about people being there for you is pretty much a myth. You and only you are the one who has to bear with the pain, and nobody cares enough to stop and consider what the others are going through. “When everyone is suffering, it’s not suffering.” This makes a lot of sense, but at the same time is complete nonsense. Perhaps we should all learn to wean ourselves off others, cut the dependence on those around us and survive on our own. Reliance, dependence – they make you vulnerable. They cause hurt, hurt that is not self-imposed or inflicted, but hurt that is contingent on other people. It seems almost ridiculous I sometimes think, when we get hurt because of someone else’s nonchalance or insensitivity towards us. If we all assumed by default that no one cares, we would expect nothing of others, and we would hurt less.
What a pessimistic thought, some would say. But I like to think of myself as a defensive pessimist. I anticipate the worst-case scenarios, I picture everything that can possibly go wrong, and I take steps to prevent it. I build walls, defences, barriers. At the same time, I’ve always believed in being the change that you wish to see in the world. I give as much as I can without expecting any returns. I don’t believe in karma, but I believe in kindness and generosity. I keep promises as far as I can, and all I can do is hope that the others remember the promises they make. I find myself no longer daring to carry such hope though, naiveté, that’s all it is. Recalling the oft-broken promises of the adults as a child, the visits that were never made, the meals that never happened, the outings that never materialised. And even now, the forgotten promises, the forgotten things that we say – I thought it would be different with someone who really cared.
Tomorrow, a new cycle begins – the yearly cycle that runs according to the Roman calendar. Many different cycles run concurrently – work, friends, relationships. The cycles are never at the same stage at the same time, and each day requires one to maintain a delicate balance between these different cycles that never stop, but yet never seem to run in tandem.