"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose." - Tennessee Williams
The past few months have been some of the best that I've had in recent years. I used to think that Los Angeles was a place where good, close friends were hard to find. That is %100 accurate if you are looking in the wrong place. What makes it more difficult, is to even know where to look. It seems that many people in their twenties and thirties are still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. There's an inherent insecurity that comes with the disconnect between who we are now and who we want to be.
For the first few years that I was here, that disconnect for me was huge. Even through much of the self-discovery and positive changes that I made, I didn't develop too many close friendships. For a large portion of that time, my perception of who I was depended deeply on my relationship with my ex-girlfriend, as opposed to my relationship with myself. Over the past two years, the soul searching I've done as a single dude has ultimately led to a broad-stroke simplification of my life. This has made it much easier to develop those close friendships that I was looking for.
Instead of focusing so much on what I want to be, I've just been doing what I want to do. Most of what I want to do is running related. It almost always involves the Coyotes, or trails that my involvement with them has lead me to run on. I've not made these new friends because they are there. I've made them friends because they are good people. They share my passion. They like to run, they like to drink beers, they like karaoke. They are people that I want to be like when I grow up. They aren't selfish, but not because they are trying not to be. They are inspiring, and they don't care that they are inspiring. They run free.
One of these friends, Gabi, pretty much fixed my foot. It's been fucked up for a few months now, and I've done tons of research and been seen by a podiatrist and chiropractor and still it hurt. Since Gabi worked on it last Thursday night, I've run twice with no problems. She didn't have to help me out, she did it because she's a good friend, and she asked nothing in return. We ran up Mt. Wilson together on Sunday afternoon. It was cold, pouring rain and windy. We couldn't see anything other than the fire road, really. We could see the trees surrounding us and the steep rocks above and below the trail, but there were no beautiful vistas. All we could see were the clouds we were in and the rain blowing in our faces. The rain pouring down on our hoods made it difficult to hear.
We climbed 9 miles in 2.5 hours, and when we were close to the top Gabi wasn't feeling great and we still had a few miles to go. If I'd run this trail solo that day, I would've turned around far earlier, and I told her that we could turn around at any point if she wasn't feeling well. She said "I didn't run for the last few hours in the pouring rain up the side of a mountain to not get to the top." We got to the top of the mountain, and although my hands were freezing and the wind was throwing cold rain in our faces, it felt glorious. We ran down the mountain in an 1 hr 10 mins after the 2.5 hour ascent. Halfway down the mountain we reached Henninger flats and the clouds cleared enough for us to see the beautiful mountain we were running on, and just enough to see the city a few thousand feet below. It was BREATHTAKING. It was SO WORTH IT. This run was EPIC. Afterwards, I felt physically better than I have after ANY run for the last 4 months.
This brings me back to the quote on the top of the page. If I hadn't met the Coyotes, more importantly, if I hadn't met Gabi, I wouldn't have had this experience. I'm incredibly grateful for my new friends, and hope that these few months have just been the beginning of great times to come.