My Glory Days are Over

How fitting. My wife and I watched The Incredibles Sunday night as we folded clothes and I was struck at how fixed "Mr Incredible" was on his former, glorious identity. Now it's my turn.

I was riding my bike home today when this other biker came speeding past me as I tried to maneuver myself safely onto the sidewalk. Now I have this thing when I'm riding my bike or running - when my adrenaline is already pumping - where if someone passes me, I automatically speed up to catch them. I can't help it. Even if I'm on a ten-speed and they're on a beach cruiser, I still try to overtake them and I feel pretty accomplished when I do so. I guess that's a vestige from my glory days, back during high school when I was at the top of my game and passing people like crazy. But that was ten years ago. Since then I've done a little training, but mostly sitting and sleeping. Anyway, today when I saw Mr Whiz fly past me I felt my legs kick into "go get 'em!" mode and I found myself flying towards him. I caught up and even passed the man without even the slightest glance back. I felt pretty good about myself as I watched him grow smaller in my rearview mirror (yes I'm a nerd with a mirror on my bike), until I felt my legs turn to mush. Luckily he turned instead of going straight, therefore missing me slouch over my handbars, gasping for breath.

I can't believe it. 400 yards of exertion and my legs gave up. Whatever happened to crashing through the wall and pushing my VO2Max and letting the monster out and "Head for the barn, babycakes!" Whatever happened to all those times I pushed myself beyond human strength, all those sprint hills and Roger's Road and the Lake and the Peak... all that and I die at after .25 miles? Sickening. I guess my glory days are over.

I just pray that I don't live my spiritual life like this. I hope I don't meander down life's paths and hope I'm blown the right way, then suddenly kick into gear when a challenge - or what I consider a challenge - comes my way. I heard a great speaker expound on this a few years ago:

I have titled my talk “The Dedication of a Lifetime.” I borrowed this title from something said by Governor Adlai E. Stevenson of Illinois, who was the Democratic Party candidate for president of the United States in 1952 and 1956. He was a fine man and would have been president if he had not been running against a very popular opponent, Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In speaking to an American Legion Convention, Stevenson gave a wise statement about patriotism. He said that what we need “is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime” (speech given Aug. 27, 1952, quoted in John Bartlett, comp., Familiar Quotations, 13th ed. [1955], 986). I like that—“not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” I will use this description of patriotism as a formula for how we should live the gospel.

Read the talk here or download the pdf.

Tranquil and steady. That sounds like "mundane" to me. It's in the everyday that we shape our character. Mr Incredible learned it, now it's Mr Not-so-Incredible's turn.


Sharon said...

Loved this blog. Thanks for posting it. Very inspiring.

Sharon said...

You've been tagged! Read my blog to see what I'm talking about!

travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)