It’s been a minute. Been busy. No time or need for apologies or explanations, let’s just get to it. We’re on Chinese New Year break! The Taiwanese work hard and get very little time off. There are far fewer government holidays here than in the states, and as a private school, even when the public schools get a day off, it may or may not mean that we do too. We got one day for Christmas, one day for New Years, and other than that, I have worked about 4 straight months with no other breaks. All of this is to say that I’ve been slowly running out of battery and am more than ready for a week to recharge.
CNY is a bit of a strange holiday. According to Lindsay, it’s more like Christmas or Thanksgiving than calendar New Year. Everyone hangs with their families and lots of businesses are closed. A lot of people, especially foreigners, travel during this time. For me, however, plans were being booked in the middle of the slog at school, so I decided that some down time would serve me better than travel. But if you know me at all, you can probably guess that down time does not mean doing nothing.
The title of this post comes from the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. In this memoir capturing his thoughts and experiences as a runner, he tells of an ultramarathon during which there were plenty of times he would stop, rest, stretch, eat, and change clothes, but no matter how tired his legs were, or how much his body would want to slow down, he refused to walk, saying “I came here to run.” At the end of the book, he leaves us with a wish that his headstone might someday read “Haruki Murakami: At least he never walked.”
I have been thinking about this philosophy a lot lately, and I think I am going to borrow it for myself. I am always telling people “I can’t sit still,” as if it’s a bad thing. I consistently fill my weeks with sports, hikes, dinners, game nights, dates, runs, and adventures. I hate ambiguous free time. I hate feeling like I’m wasting time. This reminds me of another quote from Annie Dillard that reads “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” For me, this is a great reminder that life doesn’t happen in the future, it’s happening right now. And so I constantly ask myself, “Do I want to spend my life walking or running? Do I want to look back and have watched all of the seasons of Love Island, or should I go out and actually try to find love on this island?” (Boom.)
We were playing a game the other night and I got asked the question “What is one thing that makes you so happy you don’t think you could live without?” I thought for a bit and responded, “adventure.” Above all, I think my biggest fear is dying having lived a boring life. I have very little respect for boring people. In my weaker moments, I still worry that I ended up in Taiwan at 34 because I did something wrong. But in my stronger moments, I remind myself that maybe there is no “right,” and that for better or for worse, this is the path that I’m on so I might as well run. To rest is okay and, of course, vital if one hopes to remain strong for the entirety of the race. That’s what I’m attempting to do with this week off. But to be lazy, complacent, and boring? Those are not traits with which I ever want to be associated. So yes to that race, yes to hiking, yes to soccer, yes to climbing, yes to a Tinder date, yes to another beer, yes to sprinting up this hill with someone much younger and faster than me to the point that I almost throw up because I refuse to walk.
Oh, and yes to another year in Taiwan.