Alternative Paths

Today could have went very differently.

  • I could have slept in after waking up in the middle of the night.
  • I could have driven the main roads instead of the winding back roads.
  • I could have driven the back road route that I knew much better instead of the slightly longer back road route.
  • I could have listened to the call to run 7 laps around the subdivision’s loop.
  • I could have let go of the artificial call to hit a certain goal mileage every single week.
  • I could have made time yesterday to stay on track with my goal mileage.

Today could have been a normal day, with no ER visit, no loss of the faithful car that I’ve had for 14 1/2 years, no facing 4-6 weeks off from running.

Instead, I woke up at 3:30am, and sat impatiently until 5am, when I went outside to leave for the gym.

At 5:35am… my car ran off the road and hit a tree.

My haste to be out the door before anyone was awake meant that my wife didn’t answer when I tried to call. Had I been injured to the point where time was crucial, I wouldn’t have survived. Four cars drove by that lonely stretch of road in the early morning between the time I quit calling my wife to dial 911 and the time when the police officer arrived on the scene.

My daughter, who normally drags her feet and daydreams during the morning routine became all business when my wife told her that they needed to get dressed quickly so that Mommy could go see Daddy who was in a wreck. She’s pretty skittish about anything that might be a threat to Daddy or any of the rest of the family. She’s just started to calm down after a year of fretting about every little lightning storm after she found out that a classmate’s dad was killed by lightning.

My son was blissfully unaware of what my crash meant. He thinks I just made my car “messy”. (Honestly, it always is.) I think of my coworker who died when his son was 2, and how my son might have a vague memory of me, but not really know me.

My wife often badgers me about time I spend doing this or that activity. Outside of things that involve money, my “other activities” are what I usually feel the most disagreement between us over. And yet, she is a conscience for me. Is it about me or the family? She keeps me as honest as one person can do for another.

While spending 40 hours per week doing “extracurricular” activities would likely always be an issue, the bigger issue that I must resolve is choosing the right path in context. Not all alternative paths have the same weight across different scenarios.

Lately, I’ve been so obsessed with not losing momentum with my running that I’ve failed to recognize context–we’re moving, my wife is working extra shifts, etc… In so doing, I have also now managed to lose momentum with my running.

I know that an accident like this morning’s could have happened at any time, for any reason. I also may be magically better in a couple of days. However, poor decision making has certainly not helped.

In the meantime, I have at least a few days to reflect a little more closely on what my priorities are. I’m not considering giving up running, or really even backing off of running, or other activities for that matter–but I do need to reconsider my willingness to knock their priority to the bottom at the appropriate times.

I don’t need to see if I can survive another wreck that makes a car look like this:

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