For somebody that makes a lot of stupid decisions, I’m thinking most of the time.
It really does resemble a shoe…
You would think having more thoughts would have a positive impact on the number of good ideas you actually have. Sadly, I am proof that this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, I have managed to waste a good amount of my day debating whether or not the Strava profile for my run resembles a shoe or not, and, if it in fact does, how large would the two dimensional person that wears it actually be?
Useful in the slightest? Hell no!
You see, not all thoughts are created equal. There is no way around it, some thoughts are just plain stupid.
This isn’t to say they are bad thoughts however. These thoughts don’t harm me or anyone else. That is, unless I use them as a means to procrastinate or avoid other, more pertinent issues. But, assuming I have the time, these thoughts are harmless. In fact, they serve an important role.
Not all thoughts can be deep, philosophical musings on the nature of being. Our mind, like anything else, needs a rest. Like how there is nothing wrong with me having the odd slice (or twenty) of chocolate cake after a particularly rough week, there is nothing wrong with me taking some time from my busy schedule to debate what would happen if all the squirrels of the world were to suddenly gain sentience.
Would they agree that my Strava resembles a shoe?
Would this lead to a long lasting friendship?
Could a sentient squirrel be godfather to my children? I sincerely hope so.
Sometimes, it is not the silly things, but the bigger thoughts that can cause us the most harm. For example, this morning I awoke to the news that we have begun bombing Syria. For a natural pacifist, this causes me a significant degree of stress. Instantly, fuel added to the flames, my anxieties skyrocket. I am plagued with thoughts of civilians in distress and cold, empty eyes moving pieces across a map like some twisted game of Risk. Except, unlike Risk, every successful move involves another death.
It isn’t long until my thoughts turn to Russia and what might happen there. Shit. It is like all those lessons I had as a child on the cold war.
Am I going to have to get the kids I teach hiding under their desks?
Would I even fit under my desk?
Then comes the existential panic:
What is the meaning behind all of this?
Where does all this hate actually come from?
Thoughts like these, they sit there at the back of our minds. They rise up at inopportune moments and keep us from focusing successfully. They are not useful thoughts to have. These aren’t offering practical solutions to any real issues, they are instead detracting from the things closest to us. The things that actually play a role in our lives.
The truth is, if a nuclear war were to suddenly break out, it doesn’t give a fuck about my anxieties. All they are in fact doing, is wasting whatever time I do have. Which, Donald Trump considered, might not be long.
The problem is, our lives are so busy and we’re bombarded by such a glut of information coming in from every single angle, that it becomes difficult to decide on what thoughts are actually worth our while. Because of this, it is only natural we are led to dwell upon the things filling the news. The things highlighted by the word, “Breaking” in big bold letters. We are told, “This is important! You need to be giving this your time!”
So, more often than not, these are the thoughts that win.
That is, unless we take the time to just stop, and go for run.
I will add here, that running is not the only way, but it is definitely something that works for me. It might be that you meditate, or do yoga, or do whatever else it is that helps you to unwind. What is important is that you are not just watching the television or scrolling through the internet.
We have enough thoughts put into our lives. This is about taking the time to disconnect and sift through what is already there.
On a long run, I am given a chance to really take stock of what is going on in my head. When else, are you given two hours, uninterrupted, to just go through all the things that are weighing upon you?
Pretty much never. The thing is though, this time is important.
It allows you to give a moment to each thought, and weigh up what really matters. The truth is, your anxieties can only hold your attention for so much of a run before they are ready to be cast aside. As your legs grow heavier, and your breaths become more laboured, your thoughts will move inwards, closer to home. Global politics will give way to the more mundane.
This is healthy.
There is a reason thick people are the happiest. It is not good for us to hold on to too many thoughts at once.
So, come the end of my two hour run today, I am no longer so worried about the massive things going on around me. I am instead thinking when I might make some more time to see my friends. Or how I might fit a little more kindness into my mundane, simple life.
Or… Fuck it. It really does look like a shoe right!?
And now a bonus round:
For those interested, I did take the time out of my oh, so busy schedule to work out just how big the giant, two dimensional occupant of my shoe would be.
Using an online route planner, I figured out the height of the shoe is approximately three miles. Well, 2.77 miles if we’re going to be exact, but I chose to round up for the sake of simplicity.
Next, I measured the height of my own shoes.
Knowing that I’m 73 inches tall, I then checked how many shoes stacked would make my height.
Turns out I would need to stack 16.2 pairs of shoes. Again, for simplicities sake lets say 16.
Thus, assuming our giant two dimensional man’s build matches my own, I simply have to multiply 16 by 3 miles.
I really need to get a girlfriend… But more importantly, our giant shoe man is approximately:
48 miles tall.
My next goal: the giant, two dimensional shoe man ultra. To run from the sole of his shoe to the top of his head! Who wants to join me? 😉