Runs In Transit

Month: February, 2016

Ode to Long Walks

No matter where you are, what the time, or how you feel, taking a long walk is a good option.

Whether you’re getting away from something, getting somewhere, or not sure, walking is a possible solution.

Walking lets you explore the world or explore yourself.

You can put on music and escape your thoughts or be left alone to them.

You can listen to a podcast and learn, follow the streetlights and get lost, run errands, interact with people, and get some exercise all at the same time.

You can walk slowly to meditate, or you can walk quickly to invigorate.

You can breath fresh air, get your blood flowing, and get a rush of endorphins that brighten your day.

Best of all, it’s free!

If you don’t mind, I’ll take one right now.

Perspective

Would you sacrifice your next year in order to have a better life after? What about five years?

Life often gives us chances to take a different perspective, but they must be taken.

I’m 22, plenty young, but could be younger.

I’ve lived in Toronto for 5 months. It’s a bustling city, but I often don’t leave a small radius, staying close to campus. I’m focused on school this year but not adequately planning for post-graduation. My life is imbalanced, but I tell myself that it’s to prioritize what’s important. I want to get this year done with to move on to better things. But the line between my perspective and reality is rapidly becoming thin.

For instance, I’m saving money, but what good is saving money if you cannot enjoy it while you can – what good is focusing on one thing when life is going to pass no matter what. If you can’t enjoy life in the present, are you really living?

Perspective is maddening. Without challenging it, it is easy to attach yourself to narrow thinking. Achieving balance means shocking your perspective every once in a while. It’s ok to focus on select things life, but only to a certain extent.

There’s more out there than whatever you’re focused on. Don’t forget to look back and look out every once in a while.

Responding to the Frailty of Man

Hobbes was kind of right – we live pretty sad lives. If we’re lucky, we may live until we’re 80. But 1/3 of that will be spent sleeping and we’ll have to constantly feed and take care of ourselves, lest we die. Oh, and we have to avoid diseases, cars, guns, and things like brain aneurysms. And how many of those years will be quality years, where our brain can function enough to truly enjoy life?

We are constantly reminded of the frailty of man, and it’s a wonder humans have accomplished so much despite our limitations. Much of progress was done by a select few, the Einsteins and Teslas, but the majority of us just carry on the status quo. The same is true on the opposite end of the spectrum, where the world has almost been wiped out thanks to the Maos and Adolfs. Of course, all these pivotal people had glaring weaknesses.

Take your parents. When you were a kid you probably thought they knew and could do everything. As you grew older, you realized more and more how normal they are. No longer invincible, they even seem incapable and incompetent by the time you’re an adult. Naturally, we are destined to repeat the process until our miserable demise. Out of anything but pessimism, the reality is that of the few decades our minds are capable and our bodies productive, we spend them working 40-60 hour weeks upon reaching retirement where both slowly decay. It’s hard to find positivity in the roles we fill.

What can we do about the lucklessness of the human condition? Perhaps the only way we know how – by creating meaning. With the odds against us and facing constant obstacles, humans always find a way to prevail. In the modern world we must do the same, albeit in a different way. Our lives may be brutish, short, and possibly nasty, but they needn’t be unfun or meaningless. Finding joy in the present and giving life purpose through whatever cause, maybe helping people, is dignified and always will be. And to reach that point we need to continue searching for our individualistic meaning, through art, philosophy, and the people around us. In a way we can never overcome the facts of life, but we can always ascribe something greater to our existence, and that is a great motivator.

Thoughts from T.O.

Taking care of your body is the most important thing in life, no hyperbole. Health is a combination of physical, mental, and social well-being, and the only one we have strong control over is our physical health. It should be a priority, especially since it can and will catch up to you in the future.

In Canada, there is no “Americanized” Chinese food, such as General Tso’s, Orange Chicken, or Sesame Chicken – food that’s been generalized to please the masses. Canada is a ceramic pot compared to the melting pot of the US, and the ethnic food here is on par with its counterparts back home. Which is better is unclear, but both assimilation and identity are important.

We need art for the same reason we need people. Connecting with people brings something out of us, and art accomplishes the same thing. When you look at a painting or read a book that you find beautiful, it reminds you of how you want to live your life, and sometimes art is the only way to reveal those feelings.