There are consequences for every action and an aftermath during which one must deal with the consequences.
Yes, I know this is an obvious observation.
I'm a consquentialist.
Essentially what this means is that I act--or don't act--according to my understanding of the possible consequences involved, and weighing whether the action is right or wrong based on the consequences. It's basically a cost/benefit thing. This is different than people who act according to an internal code--something the self has adopted to guide action. These people act or don't act not according to the consequences generated by an action, but according to an ethical code that has pre-determined the rightness or wrongness of an action. The consequences of an action may be good, but these people (deontologists) still won't act if the action is not inherently right.
For example, a consquentialst may lie to save your feelings.
A deontologist will never lie, because lying is wrong, even if the truth hurts you deeply.
Of course we all have a little of both ways of thinking in us. Most of us, however, lean more closely to one end of the spectrum or the other. Consequentialists are often viewed as lacking a moral compass; deontolgists are often viewed as righteous and dogmatic. I'm pretty sure you know which one you are.
Since the end of last year and the beginning of this year I have acted. I have acted in a consequentialist way. My actions have not always been codified right. But I have acted according to my understanding of the cost/benefit of acting, which is the way I understand the world.
But it's been messy.
And I've been leaning on my training to provide me with joy, temporary sanity, and peace.
But you can't lean too heavily on your body. You can't expect it not to ever, ever fail you.
Last Friday I had a little, or okay, a large meltdown.
The aftermath of several different actions/ways of being all sort of hit me at once in one massive psychic and physical system failure.
And I went down. It was ugly.
I was running, an easy 50 minute run, and half way through it I just couldn't do it. My legs became heavy, my heart started racing, I began to pour sweat. I had to stop. I had to sit down. I had to wonder whether I would make it the 3 miles back to my car. I thought I might boot. I thought I might run into the middle of the street and wait for a truck to take me the fuck down.
Speaking of trucks, it's funny how we just truck along, ho hum, thinking we're handling it all just fine.
And then, suddenly, we stop. or fall. or crash.
and we can't seem to get up.
That's kind of what happened.
I hobbled home at a slow pace.
In the car I cried. It was one of those cries were I couldn't stop crying and during which I didn't even care if people in the parking lot saw me cry.
I cried because in that moment--in that hour--my body couldn't handle the intensity or amount of training I was asking it to. It was telling me to cool it--that if I didn't it was game over. That I may be suffering mentally, but that I couldn't make it all okay just by running. or biking. or swimming. or racing. I cried because certain things must be dealt with, and my body was telling me this.
And I. didn't. want. to. fucking. hear. it.
That night I slept 12 hours straight; slept right through the alarm set to get me up to do my 17 mile run. When I woke I put on my running shoes and kissed my kids goodbye, and thanked the hub for allowing me to go for my run later than usual. I stepped out the door, began to run, and had to stop after 49 seconds. Not going to happen. And I came home and cried again.
The interesting thing about aftermath is that there is usually growth during it. The word aftermath comes from Old English and literally translates to after mowing. After something is mowed an aftermath grows consisting of new grass that can be left to grow or plowed under to fertilize future growth.
The meltdown really sucked.
But the new grass that is growing now is nourishing and hopeful.
After a day of rest I came back, did a 5.5 hour brick, and after another day of rest I did that 17.5 mile run.
And today I feel like a million bucks.
And I have made a few important decisions:
1. I'm not going to rely solely on my body to bring me the joy I desperately crave. I'm going to deal--.
2. I'm leaving teaching. I'm done.
Let the chips fall.
I'm ready for the consequences.