What is a sober thought? A sobering thought wakes you up and gets your attention quickly. In other words, it is a thought that has a big or surprising impact on something you had not thought of before, or puts something in a completely different light.
A good example of a sobering thought is the needless violence towards women. A sobering thought is cuts to education, housing and mental health programs. Sobering thoughts are all around us. We don’t have to walk far to recognize a sobering thought. When we sober up from drinking or drugging that is like saying we are coming to our senses and waking up from our stupor. It forces you to take action and seize the moment in a good way. It forces us to re-invent ourselves and change our beliefs. It forces us to look into diversity and seek better outcomes.
I recently was levelled with a sobering thought: What if I became seriously ill or plagued with an injury that took away my running for good? That’s sobering. As a result, I learned to be more careful, avoid stressful thinking when I’m running a race or even just training, because I’m prone to act in a careless manner when I’m running dangerously close to the edge of cliffs, highways and people. In running marathons, I tend to swerve in and out of human traffic. There’s a mass start at the race and I’m eager to get away fast and break free of the log jam in the early stages of a marathon. I don’t need injury or to injure others when running! It’s about managing personal boundaries. I’m grateful for the blessings of physical activity, eating healthy and getting fresh air experiences.
In life, much like the same as running a marathon, I have to be mindful of not running interference with people places and things. I have to respect the boundaries of others regardless of race, creed or sexual identification. It’s a sobering thought to be mindful of others as we walk our life’s course and journey for celebration. Sometimes we find ourselves running in place, struggling to get ahead simply because we forget to address some of the simple truths that govern our potential to make progress. A sobering thought without action is worth nothing. I was following the wrong people and was misinformed and misguided along the way. Their goals became my goals.
I learned what stalled me from progress, which is going outside and enjoying the great outdoors. Procrastination. I put off my routines by watching too much TV. I am clearly addicted to the computer screen, as well. I was getting programmed by unnatural devices in place of natural things like the wind, air, sun, rain, trees and animals. Today, I seek a healthy balance of indoor and outdoor activities. These sobered me up and awakened my spirit to live in a good way.
Taking action and choosing better situations for myself seems to sober me up from being motionless. It motivates me to get off the couch and express my true inward identity, the ways of my ancestors. A peaceful way of life without the drama of today’s hustle, bustle and bling bling.
Caribou Legs is a Gwich’in ultra-marathon runner who teaches youth about addiction and mental health issues.