I’ve been going without a lot, lately! As well as nearing the 300 day mark of this year without sport, I’m giving up surfing the net and news for Lent.
Also, when driving around, something you tend to do a lot of in Melbourne – it’s so vast – the radio / CD player is staying off, ensuring I don’t slip off into mindless daydreams.
On top of this, my cross trainer decided to get in on the act and give up the ghost, with its right wheel needing replacing. This took 2+ weeks!
(As an ‘aside’, the replacement for the cross trainer became extra runs. When the calf muscles decided this was ridiculous, humbling cross-training sessions of push ups and sit ups, star-jumps, jogging and shadow boxing ensued.
So if it was me you saw at stupid o’clock on various mornings enacting [trying to] these various fitness activities, with a dog suspiciously trying to keep its distance so as not to be associated with me, thank you. I appreciate the lack of heckling…)
So with music not going on in the car and the CD player – my one source of oxygen while I bust my chops for half an hour a few times a week – waiting idly by for the cross trainer to be fixed, I was pretty music music-less for a fortnight.
Not that I’d really noticed.
It wasn’t until I jumped back on the repaired cross trainer on Sunday morning and I was halfway through the session that I realised what had transpired.
I was really enjoying the CD I was listening to.
As in, really into it.
It wasn’t like it was a classic album that I was listening to for the first time. I had listened to it heaps of times before – it was the “It’s Blitz” album from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Insert the ‘2009 called and they want their playlist back’ gag here … I’m not much of a music buff at all – I like them, I saw them live at Festival Hall, after getting searched – true story! – let’s just move on…
Because I had experienced some time apart from any music at all, my senses were heightened as the different tunes played out. I do admit that with a cross-training machine that felt like new, it was nice to concentrate on something other than ensuring I could actually breathe.
The guitar work, the riffs, the keyboard work of Nick Zinner, the voice of Karen O; everything was hitting me in a brand new manner as the tracks unfolded.
For an album that I initially quite liked before it became another ho-hum album that ‘just got put on’, now I loved it!
Giving it up
There’s something undeniable about rediscovering the joys of something you love, as if you’ve never experienced it before. Sacrifice or fasting will do that to you. It’s not supposed to be about that; about you, but so often the transcendent benefits you experience make a mockery of the term ‘sacrifice’.
It’s amazing how you can be around your wife or husband or whoever day after day and never think anything of it. Yet, spend a night or 2 away from each other for a work trip, camp or visiting a family member, and the levels at which you miss them and await their company again is at an exponential level.
On a micro level, that just happened to me with music. 2 weeks was all it took!
At a macro level, I am currently experiencing all the benefits that have gone with going without sport for the last 297 days. I won’t repeat them for fear of sounding like a broken record, but I will repeat that I will never look back on this journey and regret it.
The beautiful game
The beauty of all this is that I am ‘soon’ to experience the richness of what I felt re-entering the world of music, but multiplied by 26!
I can’t wait to re-engage with the world of sport on a healthy level, experiencing it afresh, the big games, the coming together of friends for anticipated events, appreciating the unbelievable skill of the NBA players, the courage of the AFL contingent and the athleticism and dramatic flair of the WWE superstars.
Of course there’s areas within that framework to be wary of, but sport’s taken enough of a shellacking these past months, so again, I won’t list them.
It’s not a stretch, though, to suggest that most would espouse the virtues of their sacrificial journey, rather than lamenting their martyrdom. It’s the dichotomy of sacrificial living; the benefits come unexpectedly, and in abundance.
If you’re doing it simply to be counter-cultural, you’re going to end up unsuccessful, bored, bitter or you’re going to fill the space with other distractions or white noise.
But if you truly engage, immerse yourself and honour the journey, transformation lies in wait.