By Suzanne Reisler Litwin
Here are some of the questions I overheard this past weekend: How far did you run? How long did it take you? What’s you maximum distance? How often do you run? How many ski runs did you take? How far was the trail? What was your heart rate at? What grade did you get? What was the class average? What time did you get there? When did you leave? How many times have you been there? How much weight can you lift? How many reps and when you did you get tired?
Actually, I’m exhausted from making this list. I could easily add to it. Those were just some of the questions I heard this past weekend. By the way, not all these questions were directed towards me. They were simply in my sphere.
When I hear questions like these, all I think about is “measurement”. The measurement of one’s life. And…in the end, does it really matter if you get there any sooner or later? If you did it faster than you ever did before? If you took 10 ski runs instead of 8 and had a beer instead? Does it really make a sh*t of a difference?
Unless you are competing against a specific time, as an elite or professional athlete, it just doesn’t matter much. Unless you need to get on that plane, then it matters. It seems life is a rush, a measurement, a challenge in the competition of something.
Not all mathematical measurements produce positive results. Perhaps the goal wasn’t the amount of ski runs you took, but the overall enjoyment you had while actually skiing. That should be the measurement. The moment when your body moves quickly down the hill in an exhilarating speed with wind blowing through your body. The gorgeous views on top of the mountain. The fresh cool air and the thrill of nature. Maybe that was the measurement of the ski, not the amount of runs you took?
How’s about re-phasing the question? Instead of how many ski runs did you take, ask, did you enjoy your ski today? That’s all. Was it fun or not such fun?
Life has become so much of a statement of measurement. How many “likes” did you get on your Facebook wall or Instagram page on your birthday? Does 100 “likes” constitute a good birthday? I’m sure the day was filled with great joy, other than the “like” count.
In some ways, I guess I’m not a competitive person. Not much in my life gets measured. Unless it’s a bet that I’ve made, then it becomes a “principal point” instead. Some people are all about the measurement of life and perhaps that’s their justification for doing something successfully or not.
The Marathon was the great measurement of the ultimate run. Then the Triathlon was the measurement of the greatest combination athletic event. Now it’s the Ironman Extreme which is the greatest physical measurement and challenge. I wonder what the next great challenge will be or the next great measurement of the human challenge. Maybe it will be an opposite event?
How’s about running so far back in time you go from the present into the past. Let’s call this “The Run-Back in Time Has-been Marathon.”
When questions are posed about personal measurements, I decline to provide the answers. That’s not what I’m about. It’s not about the measurement of how far I ran, but the joy I experienced and what I saw. It’s not about how many ski runs I took; it’s about the happiness I experienced while skiing. It’s not about the reps of curls I did, but the empowerment and strength it gave me. Life is amount the moment, not the measurement. Living in the now is about living, not the measurement.
How’s about a holiday from measurement? Before you ask a question pertaining to measurement, ask yourself if the information you seek is really worth acquiring.
Did you benefit in some way from knowing this accurately measured information?
Try to spend a day without measurement in your life. Of course dates and times are important. Choose a weekend day and just let it flow. Wake when your body tells you its time. Eat when your body tells you its hungry. Don’t look at the clock; look at the sky as your time guide. Just let it be without numbers and measures. Just let it be unmeasurable!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column “Keeping it Real”. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.