Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings…5/31/21

1 Tracker. I cannot type while wearing a fitness tracker on my right wrist.

That is all.

2 Tracker. Unless you use a GPS tracker any distance traveled measured by something on your wrist or your foot is absolute BS.

That is all.

3 Tracker. After vetting the best tracker I’ve found (Biostrap) I have now reached the point where I know precisely what it will show me every morning based on what I did over the course of the prior day. It basically tells me whether or not I had wine with dinner; I am tracking the intersection of evening pleasure and guilt.

That is way too much information, frankly.

4 Excess. No, not how much I may or may not have imbibed last night (for the record, 2 vacation beers), but rather unexpected or unanticipated excess. Yesterday I went on a hike with Beth, one of her sisters, and our brother-in-law. Said BIL informed us that the trip would be “5 hours, give or take” and the hike “around 2.6 miles”. I assumed that 5 hours included travel to and from the hike, and that around 2.6 miles was the hike in total.

BZZZZZZZT. Wrong. Johnny, tell our guest about the lovely parting gifts.

5.2 miles with ~2600 feel of elevation gain (and descent) that would take us 5 hours. That’ll surely teach me to listen much better when I am a “passenger” on a voyage of any type, whether it be physical (a hike or a WOD) or otherwise (visiting brew pubs). I have no one to blame but myself, of course. I could have bailed at any point (which I did on today’s “recovery” hike after ~100yds or so).

The Lesson? Anything more than your daily anything is excess.

5 Reunion. It’s reunion season. Vaccinations and illness-driven immunity is widespread enough that even Vermont, the New Zealand of the U.S. when it came to Pandemic lockdowns and border closings, has allowed travel into the state. And so it is that I find myself on a couch in the northern Vermont countryside listening. Beth and I see her sisters and their husbands at least twice a year, and I consider the couples to be among my closest friends. I feel the same way about my siblings and their spouses. It’s been an awfully long 18 months.

My friend Bill, often my muse for these bleatings, just texted a photo (how’d he know I was writing?). A photo of our 25th Med School reunion. My God, did we look young at 50-51! I mean, lighting is everything and all, but is it possible that I really look this bad now? Seriously, it gives one pause when it comes time to decide on whether or not you’re gonna go when the invitations to reunions show up.

Family reunions make sense to me. Always have, actually. In fact, we are so fortunate with our families that we see each other frequently enough for whatever reason that a big reunion type of thing isn’t really necessary, however desirable and fun they may turn out to be. It’s the other reunions that are a bit perplexing. Even though they’ve turned out fairly well over the years, they’re still a bit of a mystery. You’re in touch with some of whatever group that is inviting you to gather, or you’re really not. Over time, and it doesn’t have to be all that much time really, you’ve drifted apart from pretty much everyone. Whether by choice or simply “benign neglect”, you’ve moved outside of the orbit of a different lifetime’s other travelers.

Why go?

Warning: this is classic musing, I’m afraid, and there is nothing remotely resembling a conclusion on the way (unless one surprises me along the way).

Last night around the campfire my 25th Reunion in VT came up and my BIL Pete asked how many reunions I’ve attended (he’s been to 2, total; BIL Gene has skipped a super-majority of his, too). As it turns out I’ve been to most of my college reunions, and as far as I can tell, all of those for med school (my 35th should be occurring right now but is cancelled due to Vermont out-COVIDing Singapore). But ‘why go at all?” was where that conversation quickly arrived.

It’s a very fair question, that. Men are said to make friendships based on shared experiences, woman shared feelings. Friendships for men occur shoulder-to-shoulder, while woman are full-on, direct eye contact. And yet both men and women leave it behind when they graduate from wherever, at least for the majority of the people they knew and which whom they purposefully shared space. As much as I always hated to admit it, my Dad was mostly right when he told me at age 20 that 10 years hence I wouldn’t be able to find a single phone number for anyone I was calling a friend in college (I managed to hang on to 5).

Why go, then? As I’ve so often written, my understanding of any particular whatever is always enhanced when I come across the vocabulary that best describes what it is I’m considering. Last night around the blaze it was Pete whose word choice lit the way. While describing the two times he RSVP’d “yes” his take away was they’d been interesting experiences. Being there was interesting. Much to his surprise, he found himself interested in the comings and goings of people he’d spent precisely zero minutes considering over the prior 10 or 20 or 30 years. Nothing prompted him to act on that interest, to seek additional contact, but finding himself interested made him kinda happy.

There’s something to that, I think. Whereas I may have found myself subconsciously (or maybe not so much “sub”) competing with classmates in the early post-graduate years, I can’t remember having competitive feelings when I’ve attended later reunions. Quite the opposite, actually. I find myself quite happy for my classmates, especially those who seem to have achieved heartfelt goals of whatever sort. And I’m interested in hearing that something has made them feel like they’ve succeeded, made them happy.

Maybe the best example that explains this for me is how I feel about the reunion I DIDN’T attend. I was invited to the 40th high school reunion for the kids I grew up with pre-K through 9th grade. I am intensely curious about those classmates. I’m interested in what has transpired in their lives. I wonder about them. Did they succeed? Did their dreams come true? Are they happy? Have they found peace?

I find myself wondering about them and wishing I’d found a way to make it to Southbridge. And if, perchance, they were interested in how it’s turned out for me? If they were as happy to see me as I, to see them? As happy to be back together as we all are this weekend in Vermont?

That would be pretty interesting, wouldn’t it?

I’ll see you, well, some Sunday soon…

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