Birthdays, mental wellness and Stoicism

I turned 47 today.  It’s been a quiet but good day, the end of a 4 day weekend.  I spent time with family and friends this weekend, I’m in good health and generally my life is quite good on most fronts at the moment.

I ran a 5 K race this weekend, the YFC Fredericton Runway Run, my first race since my marathon:


There were about 300 participants and we literally ran on the airport’s runways.  It was warm (low 20ºC, humid, mostly cloudy, with a bit of breeze in places) but a nice flat course as one would expect.  I managed a new PB of 25 min 49 seconds and I’m happy with that.  I also won a door prize in addition to getting a medal and a hat, so it was a good event all the way around.

One sad but touching note:  this is an annual fundraiser for mental health initiatives (something quite important to me) and one fundraising team in particular, the Thomas Keats Organization, raised $15,000, quite impressive indeed.  This organization was born in the wake of tragedy:  young Thomas Keats took his own life at the age of 14 after struggling with mental illness.  But family and friends rallied together to try and make a positive difference in the fight to help educate us all on the aspects of mental illness, so kudos to them.

Here’s an awkward yet somewhat fitting transition:  this whole idea of dealing with adversity and turning it into something positive ties into some topics that I have been exploring during the past year or so:  grit, resilience and Stoicism.  For years one of my uncles called me Marcus Aurelius and the significance of this name eluded me for a long time.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor

I’ve been reading Ryan Holiday’s blog a lot lately and it’s helped to point me towards a study of Stoicism.  His book The Obstacle Is The Path has also been helpful in describing and clarifying some of these ideas in more contemporary terms – worth checking out.  Apparently Tim Ferris is another student/fan/devotee of Stoicism.

I’m finally digging in to the source material itself, starting with the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius and, while the writing is not necessarily blowing my mind or creating epiphanies, I’m finding that the knowledge is important and I see some parallels in it with how I already think and act.  I’m also seeing some opportunities to improve myself by following the philosophy more closely.  Therefore, don’t be surprised if you see me writing about this topic from time to time.

If there’s a common thread throughout this post, it would have to be longevity, resilience and the fragility of life.  I feel a strong need to dig further into all of this, if only to better understand my own past, to continue to improve myself and, indirectly, make my corner of the world a slightly better place.  I don’t know where all of this is going but it feels like the right thing to do.

Year 48 looks like it’s positioned to start well, time to get working on it!


About markdykeman

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2 Responses to Birthdays, mental wellness and Stoicism

  1. Runner Waves says:

    I had to look up stoicism. It’s quite complex. It’s always a awesome when someone wants to have a better understanding of themselves. I’m still searching..


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