There are things in life that people do or achieve that I just don’t get. These things are considered milestones, or cathartic. Achievements too talk about at work or in social situations, the kind of thing that people feel they should be interested in or, at the very least, impressed by.
The most notable thing is, most of the achievements take a long time, anything from several hours to several weeks. They also tend to be uncomfortable. Case in point:
1.) The marathon
My day job for most of the last two decades has been fitness related. I was an aerobic instructor for a bit, but quickly realised that I only really liked teaching kickboxing as a class. I also started personal training. Anyone who does fitness for a living has encountered the question; have you ever run the marathon? Now many a young buck or buckess, who has become a trainer after finding the rat race pays well but is really, really competitive. So they are overly enthusiastic when it comes to fitness. They feel they have to prove their fitness credentials, not only on paper but in deed as well. They will generally do some sort of extreme fitness thing; triathlon, snowboarding, run a marathon!
I like running. Love it in fact. Feels great, it is cheap and you can do it anytime. I’ll run for half an hour, forty minutes at a push. I am not going to run for four plus hours! No. Not when I really don’t have to. I like to race as much as the next man. Sprints? I am your man. Over quickly, taxing without destroying my knees. A marathon, twenty-six point two miles, is hard on the knees, back, feet and unless you are among the elite Ethiopians, soul destroying. You’re not going to win. No hope. You might place, I don’t know, twelve thousand, four hundred and thirteenth? But all you got is a great time, along with your battered vertebrae, feet and knees. No thank you.
2.) Climb A Mountain
Hell no. I do not even enjoy walking up hill! The amount of people that try to scale Everest on an annual basis is astounding. It’s a big rock! Why do people get so excited by the thought of climbing – conquering – a rock? And whilst I mention it, because it is in same vein, why do people feel the need to go to the Poles? They are whiteouts. Nothing to see here. Just ice and penguins. And they’re only at one of the Poles!
If you’re an explorer – not a job, but if you can persuade some sap to pay you to do it, more power to you – I accept that you have to undertake certain ventures. For the rest of us, I think I’ll just catch the highlights on television.
When I say sailing, I am not talking about a leisurely punt around the bay. No, I’m talking the full on man-against-the-elements, calloused hands, sleep in a hammock, water all around but not a drop to drink, land ahoy kind of sailing. The kind that only people who have never had to work embark on. Sailing is expensive and, if you traversing oceans, time consuming. I think that it appeals to the romantic in people; out on the high seas, one with the world. And the not working of course. For me, I can think of very little, not already mentioned, that would be worse. I get sea sick on a ferry, I am not going to survive for weeks on end in a boat! It’s out for me.
Think marathon and then add swimming, me with my brick like aerodynamics in water, and cycling. I hate cycling. So you swim for a long time. Then cycle for a long time. And then run. For a long time. No. Several levels of hell all packed together. Not only that, it is a sport of posturing. Expensive… Everything! Bikes, wet suits, trainers, training. Speaking of training, triathlon takes over your life. If you embark on any distance longer than a sprint, you are going to spend every spare minute training for it. If, like most people, you pay to enter an event, you are not going to win. People who win triathlons get paid, They do not pay. You’re just participating, making up numbers. Have fun.