Last week I started running outdoors in preparation for my first half-marathon at the end of March. It was a really cold day and I had to force myself to go outdoors as opposed to the treadmill at the gym. I’m glad I did because it would have meant missing out on meeting a most interesting person.
Barely a mile into my run I see an old man walking ahead on the sidewalk. At first I was shocked to think that an elderly person would be out on such a chilly day. As I got closer I slowed down to a walk and said hello. Felt awkward at first, greeting a complete stranger on the side of the road. But I am glad I did, cos thirty minutes later I find myself still talking to Mr Saito. I could probably write for hours on what Jurou and I talked about for that short half hour. I was amazed at his pure will to live. He is 69 years old, three months from his 70th birthday and still enjoys each day to the fullest of his abilities.
He told me that his name, Jurou means “ten” and “son”. Him being the tenth and final son his father had from his 3 wives! One thing Mr Saito has experienced in life is loss. Of his 16 siblings, he is the only living son and has two sisters who both still live in Japan. Hearing about his life and the struggles he has endured definately put a lot of things in my life into perspective. Learning that he lost almost half his family before he was even 20 years old really hit me with how fragile life is.
I understand that people die everyday, it’s natural. We are born only to die, that is the only true constant in life. I think, no, I know that almost all people our age don’t really understand this. It isn’t until you lose somebody or experience such tragedy or hardship that you begin to understand the sacredness of what we have all been blessed with.
Most of us are extremely fortunate to lead relativley comfortable lives, yet we take it for granted in pursuit of education, careers, relationships, families. I understand that all these things are the foundations that we build our lives on, but how much do we really appreciate it all?
I’m not finished but I’m publishing this as my first post to this blog anyways cos it has taken me two weeks to get this far with a post. There’s so much more to come….
Ain’t no reason things are this way, it’s how they’ve always been and they intend to stay, I can’t explain why we live this way, we do it everyday…