I’ve been getting into Malcolm Gladwell talks on YouTube. I’ve tried reading his books in the past, but always lost interest after the first few pages. He’s got a great mind, displays curiosity and humour and comes across as a nice person. And hasn’t he got lovely eyes!
I think one of the aspects of Gladwell that draws me in is that he’s a sporty thinker. It’s surprises me that I find that interesting, but I do. I’ve never been exactly sporty, but I’ve always been into some kind of exercise: Swimming mainly. But I always felt that exercise wasn’t really cool or interesting. I wasn’t supposed to be into physical stuff. No prizes for guessing that this was due to the environmental influence of my care-givers.
It was when my depression and OCD and alcoholism had really brought me to my knees, when I was nineteen, that I turned to swimming as a form of release. It made me feel better when my self medications had stopped working (booze and cigarettes). But then I got into recovery of various sorts — therapy and AA — and again I heard that exercise was somehow a bit risky. That, for example, one (I) shouldn’t ‘look’ to anything apart from the twelve steps for ‘the solution’. It wouldn’t ‘work’.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this was exactly what was being promoted because at least two of my sponsors recommended exercise. But somehow or other this is what I took on, as an attitude. It’s what I heard. I was thinking today, listening to Malcom Gladwell’s podcast: Revisionist History, that I really regret not taking up some form of exercise as a central feature of my life. Yoga, for example. I think I would have been a lot happier if I had. But I burned with a desire to write or make art, and that didn’t really leave room for other considerations.
Obviously, it’s not too late; I’m not dead, or in a wheelchair, but I don’t think I could muster up a vocation as a yoga teacher at this point. To me, that does seem unrealistic. Then again, maybe I’m just at that time in life where a person is prone, with the important benefit of hindsight (we never have at the time) to regretting the paths not taken.