Gym - weights, 35m
‘The life of folly is empty of gratitude and full of anxiety: it s focussed wholly on the future.’ ... What sort of life do you think is meant by a life of folly? Baba and Isio’s? No, he means our own life, precipitated by blind desire into activities that are likely to bring us harm and will certainly not bring us satisfaction - if they could satisfy us they would have done so by now - never thinking how pleasant it is to ask for nothing, how splendid it is to be complete and independent of fortune. So continually remind yourself, Lucilius, of the many things you have achieved. When you look at all the people out in front of you think of all the ones behind you. (Seneca, Letters, XV).
The last sentence reminds me of some running advice I read from Joe Hnederson, where he pointed out that when you line-up at the start of a marathon do not worry about how slow you will be compared to the others. Even if you finnish last you will still be in front of those who signed up but didn’t make it to the start and all of those who never got off the couch to even enter. Always looking ahead to those who are faster (and there will always be someone faster) will cause dissatisfaction with what you have achieved and what you can do.
But that advice not only applies at the start of a race, it applies to everything. It was helpful to me today as when I started on the treadmill I felt a twinge behind my right knee. It was not bad and I could have continued but as after 5 minutes, as it was still there, I decided to stop and concentrate on weight training, which I could do without problem. I felt quite happy switching my attention, especially as I didn’t want a twinge to turn into a tweak and then a strain. Working within my capabilities is always the right thing to do but the next step of being grateful for those capabilities is just as important but usually more difficult. So it was with me today - until I sat down and thought about it.