The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Monday, January 05, 2009

2009 -- More than a Triathlon

For me and DH, 2009 began in the early morning hours of New Years Day on Shirley Street in Nassau (The Bahamas) at Junkanoo. Junkanoo is a mardi gras type celebration and competition. It is an orchestrated extravaganza of dazzling costumes and floats that parades through the streets of downtown Nassau, beginning at 2 am and continuing through the morning. The rhythm of the parade is provided by cowbells, whistles, drums, horns and homemade instruments. Every group that performed had a theme that expressed religious, political and cultural points of view (really fascinating). There was enormous energy and commitment on display as these groups paraded and performed. It must have taken months to prepare for this-- from the elaborate and complex costumes to the marching bands and choreography. It seemed that every Bahamian on the island was there, participating in either the event or the celebration that surrounded it (I was actually surprised by the paucity of tourists turning out for this). Everyone meeted and greeted their friends and neighbors. They all cheered for their favorite groups. They danced along the parade route. I absolutely loved Junkanoo!

I took more away from Junkanoo than some really fantastic photographs. Junkanoo renewed my spirit and gave me hope for the year ahead. The two values of commitment and community permeate Junkanoo and I want to build them both into my life in 2009. And they work well together.
Commitment is more than a public statement of your New Years Resolutions. It's about living a full and meaningful life, and believing that what you are doing is the right thing for you and the world around you. Commitment forces you to explore and learn new things, to reach out in new directions and to meet new and interesting people along the way. It's about sharing what is good with the community, whether that community is your immediate family, your book club, your coworkers or your blogging buddies.
Building and sustaining a Community requires commitment. You have to invest time and energy in reaching out to these people and building relationships. If you don't maintain your commitment to the community, then your relationship will wither. The good news is that it is usually easy to recommit and rebuild when you find yourself disconnected from the community.

Commitment and community will serve me well in pursuit of my fitness goals. Without my bike club community, I don't know if I would achieve my goal of riding a metric century, and it certainly wouldn't be as much fun without sharing it with my bike riding buddies. In a way, riding a metric century or completing a triathlon are outcomes or measurements of my commitment to lead an active and healthy life. This commitment will probably lead me in new directions, take me to interesting places (both real and virtual), give me the opportunity to meet fantastic people, and force me to think about the various communities in which I walk. I hereby proclaim 2009 as the Year of the Big Fat Junkanoo (BFJ)!

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