A treadmill is a most discouraging piece of equipment. After 30 minutes of strenuous effort, you end up at exactly the same place from which you began. It's not even that you have navigated a circuituous path, you truly never moved from your initial position. You have pushed your body to the limit. You are soaked with perspiration like a sweat-lodge resident. Your muscles ache and groan and complain. Yet, you have not taken a single productive step away from where you started. So why bother? What do we hope to attain? Why do we even consider opening ourselves to such pointless activity?
chagrin - a feeling of vexation, marked by disappointment.
Life, it sometimes seems, is much like our time on the treadmill. We exert ourselves to the breaking point, giving of our time, our money, and our energy, only to find out that we have made no progress. Dang. I start to think why should I even try to work on my shortcomings, to try to improve my attitude, to make myself into a better person? It seems that I never get anywhere. Of course, this recognition is just so utterly defeating. It quashes my spirit and makes me want to give up. Why pour good money after bad? Why not just accept myself for who I apparently am, warts and all, and find some peace? A simple cost/benefit analysis would seem to indicate that this is the smart move.
However, each morning, no matter how rough the previous day was, I resolve to keep on in the fight with renewed vigor. I don't know why. I really can't make sense of any of it. Perhaps it is something chemical or biological and out of my control. Some might suggest that this is a mark of our humanity. I sometimes think it is a form of madness. Albert Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. But perhaps, the truth is that I would rather maintain an uneasy status quo with my nose just sticking up above the water's surface than give up and spiral into chaos and darkness.