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Perspective from 245 Feet (and WWW: June 19)

June 27, 2011 Family, Fear, Friends 2 Comments

Last week’s excitement was the would-be jumper on the Golden Gate Bridge. The GREAT news is that he didn’t end up jumping! Several friends have sent me links to news stories that ran about this man and another person who was talked down on Wednesday. What a relief!

I promise I won’t go on and on about this incident beyond today, but the dichotomy between me and a fellow human being was just so stark. Thanks to all of you who have reached out via email, blog comments, on Facebook and Twitter, and over wine. I suppose that level of support adds to the dichotomy… which is where I’ll pick this back up.

Most days, I have the luxury of waking up roughly 9 hours after I went to bed. For the last week or so, there has even been sunshine streaming through my windows. Have you heard? I love sunshine! Thursday was one of those days where I woke up — and STAYED — grateful for the wonderful life I live. I knew I had a long run in front of me. I knew it would be the longest distance I had run since the Big Sur Half Marathon and the longest distance I would run before Barb’s Race.

But I couldn’t be bothered to let this run loom over me and bring me down. I drove to San Francisco, fighting traffic to get to the Marina Green, parked my car, and set out. If you’ve done anything like participate in endurance events (long distances could mean 4 miles if you’ve never run beyond a 5K before!) or suffered from an injury, you know that the battle is at least as much mental as it is physical. It’s best to start off with positive thoughts and let them snowball. The worst thing you can do — AND I SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE — is start off in a negative frame of mind. So I was out there with the feel-good vibes going right from the get-go, and they were sincere!

What a beautiful day!

I am so fortunate to get to run in such a beautiful place!

Hell, who am I kidding? I’m so fortunate that I can walk without a limp!

I’m meeting with someone about a Big Idea after this. How exciting!

I love having a lemon tree in my backyard. Every time a recipe calls for lemon juice, this is such a blessing.

I have such good friends. I saw friends Tuesday night and I’m supposed to meet up with more friends tonight at a free concert in the park. There will be wine.

I realize my car is 15 years old, but I love it when we get 10 convertible-perfect days in a row. And it’s paid for!

I am so lucky my skin deals with sun exposure well.

I can’t believe Argus has lived almost two months longer than the doctors predicted, and he isn’t showing signs of nearing The End yet.

Ooooh, looky! The Golden Gate Bridge!

Admittedly, the mind wanders a bit during a long run, but I was really feeling good about how the run was going (despite the hills and getting lost in the Presidio construction mess) and life in general. I was excited about running across the bridge for the first time and let the good times roll all the way there… and almost all the way back.

Having another human being almost take his life right in front of you will really put a damper on things.

When the police officer told me to keep on running, I did. But I couldn’t keep my brain from going right back to the situation, wondering what I could have/should have/would have done differently. There was also the incredulous almost “giddiness” (and I feel terrible saying that) about having witnessed something so raw. A la, “My friends are never going to believe this!” And that made me feel bad. I was nothing more than a rubber-necker at that point (although I had more couth than to take pictures, like the tourists had…).

I went from being really high to being really low in a matter of about 90 seconds.

But even so, I was nowhere near as low as that man was. And I never have been. I am sure it’s a combination of a lot of things — a great support network of family and friends, an ability to put things in perspective, a love for (but not addiction to) wine as a means to take the edge off,  an optimist’s disposition. Hell, maybe it’s just a fear of missing out on something when I’m gone! Honestly, I don’t know what separates me from people who have the courage (some call it cowardice) to take their own lives.

I got home from my meeting that afternoon and canceled my plans to meet friends at the free concert in the park. Greg was mountain biking with his buddies and I was relishing the alone time in my house, thinking about the events of the day. I found myself even more grateful for all the things I had been thinking about.  And for even smaller things, like how pleased I am that I cleaned out my refrigerator last week and that the shelves are still shiny.

I rode my bike across the Golden Gate on Saturday. It was much busier with tourists, which made it more miserable (in that sense) than Thursday had been. I kept my eye out for anyone suspicious-looking, but mostly did my best to remain considerate of others taking in the majesty of the bridge and its views. I made a commitment to myself to do a better job of living among a population of people who may not have such a positive outlook on things. They are the ones that need a smile or a dose of patience the most.

Weekly Workout Wrap-up

Sunday – 1500-yard swim

Monday – 21-mile bike ride (first time with aero bars!)

Tuesday – 5 mile run

Wednesday – 90-min bike ride with 45 mins climbing

Thursday –  11.5 mile run

Friday – OFF

Saturday – 67-mile bike ride


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Kim says:

    Great writing and thanks for sharing your reflection. I thought of you and your story tonight as I work in the ER, and a young woman who was a patient just 6 months ago with a very serious suicide attempt walked through the door and thanked me for what I had done for her Mom (along with her Mom). I rarely know the ending, and this, along with your experience, has me reflecting in many similar ways.
    I also don’t know what separates people. I realized some time ago that I have no idea, and cannot imagine the pain that a person must be in to take one’s own life, and it is one of the saddest things to bear witness to. But I think talking about it, and posts like yours brings awareness, which could help someone talk about it to someone, equaling prevention . . . if that makes sense.

    • Molly says:

      Thanks, Kim! I really appreciated your comment on the previous post, and this one gives even more perspective to the selfless jobs that so many people have (like you, like the CHP officers on bridge patrol, EMTs, etc…). I guess that has been the real wake-up call to me: it’s everyone’s “job” to be human and treat everyone else as we want to be treated.

      Take care, and thanks for taking care of so many others.

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