I was going to the gym too. Being healthy. For an hour, three or four times a week. Then I sat down somewhere else. On the sofa, in a bar, until bed.
Traffic rumbled by on the busy roads outside. I caught buses and tube trains and taxis. I was leading a successful life. Keeping up with things. On the way up.
A few years ago, I was in New Zealand sea kayaking around Abel Tasman. We'd just completed a two-day adventure, the last hour of which had been across particularly rough sea. Worse weather was looming and our guide was starting to look concerned (never a good sign in a hardened outdoorsy type). Dragging our paddles through the water felt like two steps forwards and one step back. But we finally made it to our sheltered destination, and sat back in the boats with relief and a huge sense of achievement.
Suddenly, I saw a dark fin break through the water just a few metres away. It was an enormous dolphin, playing between the waves, checking us out - and I couldn't remember a time when I'd felt such incredible happiness. Wind blown, exhilarated, complete and a part of the world - a wild, beautiful, unpredictable, uncertain world of secret-laden seas and shape-shifting skies.
I think too often we forget to remember just how much a part of that world we are, in spite of our air conditioned offices, our technology, our cleverness. We forget the fact that in an 'odds stacked against us' moment of creation, we once emerged - a force of nature - and we'll be going back there, on a journey we don't understand.
And in many ways, perhaps nothing really matters except those moments when we feel most alive, most wild, most beautiful, most connected to that force of nature that is us and surrounds us, because it's where we belong. And when we're there, well, in my experience anyway, all things seem possible.
Image of Abel Tasman, courtesy of www.sxc.hu