This was last year. One hour into my trail run. Apart from missing the exercise I hope you can see why I miss running free.

Eventually you have to accept reality.

Hawklad’s anxieties are still rising. More routine tasks are becoming more difficult for him. He can largely control the dynamics within our house and garden. Lots of washing, extensive quarantining of items and being careful what he touches. He is ok within his castle walls. He is not ok with me venturing out.

Beyond those walls and that’s a completely different world. An alien, dangerous world to him. His doctors are clear – this will take a very long time to start to address. It’s not going to start happening until a pandemic is well behind us and as one of our leading scientists pointed out – with a fair wind we may start returning to something like normal life at the end of 2021. That’s assuming the new vaccines work and roll out soon….

So for me the reality is that our personal lockdown will likely stretch through 2021 as well. My mindset has to change. Away from getting through the next few months TO living the much longer new reality.

So back to the photograph. Running has become a bit of a drug for me. Now I have to completely wean myself off that. I’m nearly there as it’s been so long without it. Time to permanently replace it with other things.

68 thoughts on “Wean myself off

  1. Oh, no, not permanently, just for a year or two. I started back to running again when I retired at 64, 10 years ago, and my body didn’t strongly suggested I stop until last year. Hold onto that feeling of joy, that sense of freedom when running. The time will come when you can embrace it again. 🏃🏽‍♂️😊

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That is so unnecessary and irrelevant. Deaths are real. Long term consequences are real. The fears are real. It’s not necessary to personally witness someone suffering the effects of the virus to know how it can potentially harm you.

      Unless of course you believe the covid tbing is a hoax.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I apologise for offending you. I have a tendency to put my foot in it, so to speak and have done so for well over 60 years. And frequently the responses I receive are just like yours.

        And my reaction until around 10 years ago would have been to profusely apologize then go away and hide in the corner convinced that I needlessly offended someone else and am not deserving of taking part in any conversation, and my opinions are totally worthless.

        Then at 60 years of age, I was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. While it hasn’t prevented me from still making many horrendous guffaws, and I still need to apologise more than most people, I now understand why I make mistakes and try to rectify the situation whenever I can. I now know that my opinions do have value and are worthy of being expressed, even if that expression is clumsy more often then not.

        Having had a lifetime of the effects of gaslighting (look up the term if you are unsure of its meaning in the autistic community) I perhaps overcompensate when I experience what seems like the start of a line of conversation that will lead to gaslighting, which rightly or wrongly I sensed in your question to Gary. With that in mind, I’d like to explain why I said what I did.

        But before I start, I’d like to point out that Gary was not speaking exclusively to you, but to all his readers. Had we been there in person and immediately after he had shared his thoughts you posed the same question, my response would probably have been much the same. Your question was very public, and different people will react to it in different ways. You know how I reacted and here is why.

        Your question, aside from being somewhat macabre and totally irrelevant to the experience of Hawklad and Gary’s response to that, is the type of question that so often starts a conversation thread where the intended outcome is to convince the other party that their concerns, feelings, apprehensions or fears are baseless and their experiences are not real or are imagined. Sometimes that process might be deliberate, most often it occurs with no harm in mind, but the outcome is a slow erosion of one’s self esteem and doubting one’s own experiences – gaslighting.

        To me, your question, because it was out of context, seemed to be the start of a thread where the intent was to show that so few people actually catch Covid-19, and even fewer people die of it (“see, you don’t personally know anyone who has died of the bug”), so it’s nothing to worry about and Hawklad’s fears are groundless. I’m sure Hawklad is smart enough to calculate the odds of catching the virus and of dying from it. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s already done the maths. However knowing those odds is unlikely to alleviate his fears even slightly.

        Whether it was intended or not, your line of questioning will be very familiar to many people who have experienced gaslighting. What would you have done had you been in my position?

        I’m fortunate to live where there is no community transmission of Covid-19 and we don’t have to live with any restrictions on movement or social gatherings and no need to wear masks at all. However I’m old enough to recall a time when we lived in fear of an epidemic that swept the country in waves in the 1950s. It had an infection rate that was only a tiny fraction of the current pandemic and the death rate per capita was much lower than with Covid. I was one of the few who caught it, and although I knew my parents were very concerned about me, I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until I recovered some three months later and I discovered many parents in the street wouldn’t allow me to play with their children that I learnt how much fear polio caused in the community.

        Fear isn’t rational. Our only option is to manage it as best as we can. And in this regard Gary and Hawklad are managing it to the best of their ability.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I was going to reply to The Hinoeuma’s comment in much the same way Barry. I wish I had and I am pretty disappointed in their response to you on a public forum. I’m glad you felt able to express yourself so eloquently in your reply.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 1. My MOTHER is autistic so I had a very interesting childhood.
        2. A very close friend has Asperger’s.
        3. A boyfriend in my 20s had severe dyslexia.

        I am WELL VERSED in autism.

        You don’t have the slightest clue WHY I asked Gary what I asked him. YOU ASSUME YOU KNOW. And, attacking someone because YOU ASSUME you have the higher ground and YOU ASSUME the other person has cruel intentions MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE, autism or NOT. Your back story to somehow make your behavior all better does not work with me. You CANNOT simultaneously attack someone and expect pity on the backend.

        I’ve been following Gary for over TWO YEARS and we’ve never had a cross word. I’ve read his struggles back when he only had 250 followers.

        I’ve had my fill of people who think they know what’s going on when they haven’t the first clue.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Dear The Hinoeuma

        Had I assumed I knew why you asked the question, and had I attacked you, and had I assumed I had the higher (moral?) ground, and had I assumed that you had cruel intentions, then you might be justified in calling me an arsehole. However I don’t believe I’m guilty of any of these. Let me state my case:

        I agree that I don’t have the faintest idea why you asked Gary that question, but I stand by my feeling that under the circumstances, as I perceived them, it was inappropriate given that it had no context that I could see. However, I can misread/misunderstand context, and perhaps this might be one of those occasions.

        Gary’s interpretation of, and response to your question might well be very different to my own. I find nothing exceptional in two people experiencing the same circumstances in totally different ways. Regardless of how Gary responds, your question made me very uneasy, and this being a friendly, one could almost say intimate, public forum, I felt it necessary to comment. I must admit I was rather surprised by your initial reaction, and even more by your response at my attempt to smooth the waters.

        Being critical of a single question is not an attack on the questioner, and I’m at a loss as to why you should have taken it that way. If you care to enlighten me, that would be appreciated. I am told very frequently that a comment I make or a question I ask is inappropriate. One possible scenario is for the other party to assume I’m an arsehole and tell the world so, neither I nor the other party learn anything from it, and sooner or later it will be repeated again. And again. Ultimately, the other party ceases to think I’m an arsehole and becomes absolutely convinced that I am, the rest of the world follows not far behind and begins treating me as such, and I start believing I deserve such treatment. Believe me, this was my experience for more than 50 years.

        Another possible scenario, and one I try to follow since I learnt what being autistic was all about, although it requires the cooperation of the other party, is to enter into dialogue as to why our perspectives differ, because ultimately, what we perceive as right or wrong are no more than differences in perspective. Through dialogue, I may come away with an understanding of why my comment or question was inappropriate under the circumstances, and the other party may come away with a better understanding of how I perceive the world and make adjustments to the way they interpret what I communicate.

        This is what I attempted to do in my follow up comment, but clearly something has gone awry. I tried to be very careful to ensure that any criticism of what was written was not a reflection on the writer. Every one of us can make make comments with the best of intentions only discover they are interpreted differently by others. It happens to me frequently. This might well be another one of those occasions.

        I made no assumption about your motive. It simply is not possible to know, and I don’t believe I have written anything to lead you to the conclusion that I made such an assumption. I felt the question was in bad taste under the circumstances, and that was based on my experiences and what I have learnt as a consequence of gaslighting. My explanation was an attempt to state why I felt the way I did, and why I respond that way when I see a question posed in the way you did. It was not to assign a motive to you personally. I’m very sorry if that was what happened.

        What I was thinking when I wrote my original comment was something along the lines of “I don’t know what your intentions are, hopefully they are honourable, but your question has triggered an uncomfortable response in me due to my experiences of gaslighting and the fact that it often starts out in a similar way to your question. If your intention is to downplay Hawklad’s fears, please don’t go down that road.” What came out was very much along the lines of what has been said to me thousands of times in similar circumstances. Since your “Piss off” comment, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how I could have expressed myself better. That’s the best I have been able to come up with so far, but I have no idea if that is an improvement or not.

        My original comment most certainly is not an attack on you or your character – it’s simply not possible to make any judgement based on a single comment/question or one conversation thread on one blog, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. As I previously mentioned, mostly intentions are honourable, and very rarely are intentions otherwise. I’m sorry that my comment drew you to the conclusion that I had made any assumption at all about your motives being anything other than with the best of intent.

        My default position is that a person’s motives are honourable regardless of what they appear to say or do. I saw no reason why that didn’t apply to you, and it was on that basis that I made my original comment. And given the aggressiveness of your “piss off” response, I can assure you that had I made the assumptions that you believe I did, I would not have bothered to respond to that comment, nor would I be responding now.

        Clearly I have offended you in no small measure, given your response, and while I don’t exactly know why, I can only assume it was because my original comment was modelled on what I have heard and experienced over many years, and didn’t accurately portray what I intended to say. It would appear that my last explanation has only added fuel to the fire. That was not my intent.

        I want to make it very clear that I do not have higher ground on any matter whatsoever, just a different bit of ground to stand on in some matters. Not higher. Not lower. Just different. If you wish to move your bit of ground to a higher or lower (moral?) plane, that is your prerogative, not mine.

        And no one deserves to be attacked – even real arseholes. Criticism of specific actions by said arseholes, yes, but attacks on the person or their character, no. While I was quite young I learnt that there were no such thing as a good or bad person, but everyone is capable of doing good or bad deeds to various degrees. When I was much older I discovered that what we perceive as good and bad, right and wrong, sinner or saint, are perceptions based on cultural norms. We are therefore all worthy of equal respect and should be treated that way. It may not be a perfect model, and sometimes it has holes big enough to drive a bus through, but it’s the only model I have, and I try to live by it as best as I can. But it would seem that, in your eyes at least, I failed to live up the that standard.

        When it comes to wanting pity, I’m not sure I understand what it is. Empathy I understand, and I have learnt that most people desire sympathy at times, but my primaty understanding of pity is when we see an animal suffering a great deal and we choose to have it put down. Why would I seek such an outcome? I recall moments from my past because they provide real life experiences that help to illustrate a point. They’re not there to invoke an emotional response.

        I have grown very fond of Hawklad over the years, because I see in him, and especially in his sense of humour and in his general outlook on life, something of myself at the same age. And I see in Gary much of what I saw in my parents: people who cared deeply about my welfare when the rest of the world had written me off as inconsequential and unlikely to be anything other than a drain on society.

        I still struggle in understanding the somewhat mysterious art of human communication and I hope, but don’t fully expect, that I have acquitted myself better this time round. If you still consider me to be an arsehole, welcome to the Barry Is An Arsehole Club. Membership has been slowly but steadily declining since my diagnosis, but you’ll still have plenty of company for a long time to come.



      1. I’m so sorry. I hope your niece recovers.

        At the original writing of my comment, I’d never been around anyone that had had it or knew anyone that died from it. Two hours ago, my buddy Ray told me that his girlfriend was diagnosed with it. She’s at home, resting and has lost her sense of smell. She is in good spirits.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. She is on the mend. The worry is the two work guys. One has caught it in hospital after a triple bypass and the other has been ill for ages with it. It seems to effect people in so many ways. But of a roll of the dice on if it’s a cold thing or worse.


      3. Oh, no. Having it after triple bypass…that’s awful. And, catching it in the hospital, no less… I wonder if the second guy has other issues that contribute to it being tough to shake off?

        Glad your niece is doing well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sad for you, but you can still run around, around the back yard. I’ve been running up and down the hallway. Not the same, but as the commercial says “If you’ve got a door, you can have a gym” haha … One of the positive things I can say about the virus, is that I am hoping that it makes people more grateful for what and who they have in their lives. The little things, as the saying goes. Some people are getting this, some are not … I’m looking at you anti-maskers and “COVID is only the flu!”

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Running is not my thing, but I know a lot of people love it and I understand being out in nature, and feeling free. I hope you can find a good replacement for it. You do an awesome job of taking care of your son, you gotta take care of yourself too!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. We do what we have to do… we do it because we love the little guys and want them to have the best possible life.
    It’s natural and completely human to be bummed about the things we give up. It’s not forever… just for now. I’m gonna run away from home in 10 years or sooner. You’ll be running again in 10 years, or sooner. Our little guys will be grownup guys then…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Gary, biggest hugs to you. Never forget the things you are. One of them is being an amazing dad. Maybe if you get a mo to run round the garden when Hawklad is asleep and howl at the moon a bit, you will be able to take it. Long road for him but hold to the hope this will pass and yes, yes of course he has to pass differently into that but I am sure with your support he will.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. You will run again my friend. Though aspergers will remain and bring many challenges I feel that this will pass for you and your son. Maybe not as fast as you would like but I know you both have the love and strength to wait it out. X

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gary. I am so sorry for the above exchange. I don’t take kindly to being attacked when people assume they know why I do what I do.

    Now, back to the question. I asked you if you knew anyone that had it & passed. The REASON I asked was because I wanted to know if the answer was yes and is this a contributing factor to your son’s fear? The both of you have lost so much, already, I was hoping that neither of you knew someone, personally, that passed from it.


  8. I understand that it is difficult to push the desire and need for running back. It is your way of removing pressure, relaxing, calming. It will all happen again and hope that you can find something to bridge the time until then!

    Liked by 1 person

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