Monday, April 16, 2018

Shades of Gray

You can't change a stubborn mind You can't see the world if your eyes are blind 
What does it matter anyway In our darkest hour we're all just shades of grey

-Amanda Marshall

I was recently on a ride with two good friends, one has been a good friend for about a decade and one for about half that. We're all mature in life... and at the time we met we weren't in a serious relationship never going to get married and/or have kids for the first time or again. In the last 6 months, we've all gotten engaged and are engagements are lasting in length in negative proportion to our age...  Clearly we're people of conviction. We celebrated with a bike ride and burgers recently and did some heckling. 

It's a little over four months till the wedding and people keep asking if I'm stressed. We're not. We've both planned events on our own and have our good friend helping as a wedding coordinator. There is some concentration and energy and disagreements but that's called life. The other event that's taken up a lot of questions is what's going on with custody... and the answer is I have no clue. It's been seven weeks since the hearing and the judge still hasn't ruled so we're still waiting. Am I nervous? Of course, leaving your fate in a stranger's hands is well strange in my book but I've literally had to do with life and death issues with much longer wait periods with oh... brain surgery. I certainly have some different ideological approaches between how I parent and her mother does (and it takes no brain surgeon to realize we couldn't agree on our own and we both think our method is better enough  or else we wouldn't leave it in a stranger's hands). Still, while there's some anxiety, I have a hard time believing that anyone rational would make a big change in Kiana's life with her track history. Nonetheless, I try to follow my grandfather's approach to life, one day at a time, I get tired when I try to do two. 

It's been half a decade since I won a marathon and the media that followed. I honestly didn't think I'd still be alive today... the dreams them were just to get through the next MRI, getting to the next one was a question mark followed by an exclamation of relief. The dreams since then have become a little more fun since then. When Elaine moved in and we started living our life of sin a little over a year ago, we started doing some things on the house. I made this crazy list that I thought would take us oh a least a few years. There are 3 things left on that list with the latest one that got done being painting the outside of the house. Like a fair share of the remodeling we've done it ended up being shades of gray. It's one of our wedding decoration colors. The easy joke of course is that we'll eventually if we haven't already gotten to 50 shades. But actually the song that I have on a playlist that I'll have playing before the wedding has a song on there quoted above, that in our darkest hours we're all shades of gray. It's like when you're drunk people say it's who you really are... I disagree with that, it does show something about you but it shows your undisciplined self (I'm a philosophical drunk) but who you've become through discipline and choice is also worthy of consideration. But when your back is against the wall... when it's fight or flight... it says something. The guy who put off brain surgery to run a marathon is a story told often but the one the guy with a damaged memory remembers is the guy who focused on only the serious medical and financial stuff and neglected some relationships so I'm trying better on that end.  

I'm also having some fun with it. I've taken pictures of Kiana with bluebonnets since she was a kid. This was the first time I jumped in on it. Kiana's picked up my competitive edge and I'm trying to help her focus it. I'm still trying to contribute and train and gun. It's a fine but fun balancing act. We've each done fast 10ks in the last couple of weeks. Mine was not my fastest last week but I hit the elite standard. I was impressed in February when Kiana averaged a sub 7 pace for a 5k. Yesterday Elaine kept a similar pace for a 10k... Kiana did it just a few seconds over a 7 minute pace and beat her by less than a minute. That was a phenomenal individual accomplishment by both of them. But that wasn't even my personal favorite part. My parents came out for it and they ran the most they have in a 5k in a while getting good times. They've been married 3 decades or so now and perhaps the fact that they do all their races together tells you why. 

The Longhorn Run I was the 1st non student in 3 times and took third place the other time. The first time I ran it was with a stroller back in 2013 but here in 2018, I'm getting closer and closer to a dream that requires looking ahead far more than the next MRI.  It's getting to do the races that I did with a stroller with Kiana side by side (or these days often out kicking me). The Marathon I won, the one I put off brain surgery for, the one I won the stroller division in, and now the longhorn run are covered. We're going to keep going as long as I'm healthy and Kiana likes it. Turns out anyone who thinks running is a solo sport wouldn't rhyme with our approach that it's better shared. This running races ain't no thing but a family thing but the best time was that I started dreaming something up a while back and it's one of those times where the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. 

I've taken 1st place male in another half since Beaumont (yep I got beat by a girl) by sprinting and winning it by less than one tenth of a second in my closest long distance win ever. I've kept supporting brain cancer races and took 3rd in the Head for the Cure race. I keep contributing to the communities that I'm a part of as best as I know. My 14 year old dog has good days and bad days and I've found new trails behind my house and we've been enjoying the spring weather out there. She has been off leash for most of it and even as she struggles more on some days than other and somedays she seems much younger than that, it takes a brief look at that tail wagging even when she struggles to climb up thing to reiterate to myself that there is zero chance that I'm going to fade away sitting in a nursing home if I have any say about it. You know during q&a after speeches, I get asked if I changed my diet after I found I had cancer. I respond with that I'd always eaten healthy for athletic reasons but I was taking in more dessert if I likely wasn't making 40... I might make it now so I'm not having as much dessert as a few years ago but puppy at 14 gets a treat pretty much on demand and I have no apologies for that. 

We're still taking on new adventures in our own messy way. Kiana did a spartan where she lost both her shoes in the mud very early on and did it anyway. I mountain biked for the 1st time since college and well whether or not I have any more kids may have gotten decided on one of those bumps. Kiana has gotten to ride on bumpy trails for the first time. I finally joined a gym for at least a bit to try to keep up with Elaine's workouts. People say I'm stubborn and I am but it turns out I can change my mind and occasionally aim that stubbornness in a new and healthier direction. 

What can I say but that life, life is good. I am never going to be perfect or handle stress without mistakes; I don't know anyone who has or does. But I'll tell you my darkest hours these days or any upcoming ones, I hope the stars shine a little brighter. 

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