This is NOT actually a post dedicated to eating, although that would certainly be timely, seeing as Turkey day is not merely 'right around the corner' but UPON us! (How did that happen? Holy crap!)
I've been thinking about the either/or dichotomy that I often set up - it has to be this or that, X or Y, ying or yang, law or order. Never both.
I began thinking about this earlier in the year when I was tutoring a student from another school for a few weeks. I hesitated to tutor this student and then agreed for a variety of reasons. Initially, I found tutoring to be... not boring, but not as fun or interesting as teaching a group of students. With a group, the students' personalities play off each other and they often learn from each other. Tutoring an individual student does not, obviously, offer the dynamic atmosphere of a classroom (in its ideal "zone"). However, as I tutored this student, I learned to appreciate the one-on-one with a student, getting to know a student without the social currents that often run through a classroom. On the day of the last tutoring session, I was quite sad to say good-bye to this person, a reaction that I did not anticipate.
At this point, it seemed like a good idea for me to revisit the notion I held that so many things in life fell into the either/or category. Why couldn't I handily teach a class AND tutor a student, and find both of these experiences equally satisfying? And to feel, in both cases, that I failed in my duty when said student/s don't perform as well as hoped on certain standardized tests?
Along the same vein, I often view running and racing as either/or activities, that it has to be one or the other. Why can't I enjoy BOTH - running and racing? They tap into different energies and satisfy me in distinct ways. Rather than fighting with the notion that it must be either/or, I've recently decided to embrace both. Running, after all, is the daily, meditative activity that is a 'healthy' activity and will satisfy the soul. Racing, on the other hand, is the exhilaration and the devastation, the putting yourself all out there. To be honest, I prefer the daily or weekly running, heading out the door and hitting the trails, losing myself in thoughts. However, I can't deny that I love the excitement of race day. Everything about it - waking up, worrying about the time, getting the bib, trying to be aware throughout each mile, pushing myself to the finish.
So, as I reexamine my worldview (weltanschauung!), I'm trying to fit the concept of "both" into my life. It's expansive, this new way of interpreting life, as I suddenly find that more options are viable. Perhaps I'll eventually want to narrow my vision, but for now, it's kind of exhilarating that my interpretation of life has opened up, that I can have the ying and the yang to make that perfect circle.