Running and pondering ideas

By Leah Kind

As I merrily trotted along on my jog this morning, I started to ponder some things. True, I do seem to ponder a lot, but when you’re out on the road, and it’s just you, the gusty winds of DeKalb and the pathetic time goal you’ve set, it’s hard to keep your mind from wandering.

It starts out simple. How high are my shorts hiking up? Do I have snot on my face? Why’d I have to get into running? How embarrassed would I be to see someone I had a crush on in high school?

But then, around minute 20 or so, when the mind is starting to take over from the body, tricking it to ignore the fatigue and irritation, other questions start to emerge.

For me, all it took was one car not doing the polite car thing by moving slightly over to the other lane in acknowledgment of my puny human body. True, due to my general caution, learned early at Safety Town, I try to stay as far to the side of the road as possible without running on a 45 degree slant or falling into a ditch, but still. When I feel the rush of wind from a car going considerably faster than the posted speed limit, I inevitably anticipate the split-second when I could actually get hit. I imagine what it might feel like to be thrown into the air, limbs akimbo and then come hurtling back to earth. Or maybe it wouldn’t be that easy. Maybe I’d get stuck in the grill of a car, sparrow-like, not discovered until the next rest stop.

But my point here is not simply to dwell on my hypochondriac-like imagined macabre demise. What I would like to think of myself, and what I hope those who know me would support, is that I am someone who loves life. I don’t embrace life in a base-jumping, white-water rafting kind of way, but I enjoy the opportunities that I have. I try not to get stymied by the obstacles and frustrations I inescapably face and generally try to remain optimistic.

Although I must resort here to the cheesiest of journalistic segues, that same love for life is what I imagine the friends and family of a certain woman in a certain heated debate over the right to die would remember about her, too. Like any bright-eyed kid, I’m not ready to go. I hope that I am able to live a long, exciting, happy and productive life before my time is up.

But if it should come sooner, and only brush past, leaving me in a coma or vegetative state, I hope that Jesse Jackson does not drop by for a prayer visit. I hope that Jeb Bush does not try to adopt me. I hope that the courts and the media and the religious right stay as far away from me as possible, because what I would want people to remember about my life is my vitality and not an extended and scrutinized mortality. This is what has been tragically obliterated in that certain woman’s case. And that’s something to ponder on your next run.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.