Friday, April 29, 2011

Burden of the Responsible Man

I love the painting Burden of the Responsible Man by James C Christensen. It’s a conceptual painting with the central figure packed down with all his ‘stuff’, all his responsibilities. The painting oozes with symbolism. I have inserted a graphic to show you what I mean and I won’t bore you with what I think it all means. I would much rather share with you his work and let you interpret it yourself. I love the dangling carrot. My brother owns a print of ‘Burden’ that he purchased quite some time ago. I swear I could stare at it for hours every time we see each other.

When he first bought the print over fifteen years ago, I wasn’t married; I had no children, no mortgage etc. The burden back then was deciding what I would eat for breakfast or how I would pay my bills with the income I had, or are these tires going to make through winter. I smile at how simple life seemed back then by comparison. And yet at the time the burden was real. As we mature and gain experience in life we are able to take on more responsibilities.

I recently read an article by a NY Times columnist Jenna Wortham, she was discussing FOMO the fear of missing out. If you can find it, it is a great read. It goes on to talk about our dependency or our interdependency with social media to hook us up with the best parties and goings on. Anxiety is fueled by social media and it gives us this underlying fear that we may be missing something better elsewhere. In our little running community (all my Tweeps are runners) I too, am inundated with tweets describing their runs or their big marathons coming up. I too, am somewhat anxious that I have missed a chance at a tweet up or a Ragnar or Mojo Loco with some people who have become kindred spirits to me.

The FOMO gets worse when I have a streak of non-running days. My anxiety lets me believe that I am getting out of shape, gaining weight. I become bitchy on non-running sunny days and a runner crosses our path. I want to be out there for sure. . .

“You okay Dad?”, she says to me. Her big brown eyes stare back at me and she smiles.

“Of course I am honey” I reply.

I jammed my thumb putting the wall into place. Her third birthday is next week and I am rushing to get her birthday present finished. It is a beautiful cedar cottage 4’ x 4’ inside. It took me all weekend and a bit more to finish but it was the only time I had to finish it. I passed on two long run opportunities to get it finished. You see I was away all week and we have two lacrosse games this weekend so time management is key. Running just has to take a back seat.

She absolutely loves it! I just wish the weather was a little better so that she could use it. I wouldn’t say it was a ‘Burden’ more likely a labor of love. And as far as FOMO . . . well I am 46. I’m not planning on hanging up the shoes anytime soon but my kids are only young once. At this moment in my life I’d rather be there on Saturday morning when my kids wake up and laugh at the cartoons or watch the Wiggles eating peanut butter on a spoon before my wife wakes up. Missing out? Don’t believe for one second that I’m missing out.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent perspective, Rob. I can relate. Since I've been injured, I've spent more time with my wife & kids and haven't regretted a second of it.