Thursday, January 31, 2019

A Continuum: the sands of time...

Time is like a handful of sand, the tighter you grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers.


My 20’s: That runner’s high! I love it! I feel like my feet are six inches above the pavement and I could just keep running and running forever. I stretch my runs longer and longer for pure pleasure until I just have to turn back--reluctantly. I’m empowered and kind of in awe of my energy.

My 30s: My pregnancy decade. Three kids. I jog behind a stroller with the firstborn; walk with a toddler while pushing a stroller with the second born; walk slowly with my third, stopping so he can drop pebbles down the drain or pat the doggie.

 I go on occasional walks or slow jogs on weekends or days when my husband is home with all three kids. But I often choose to nap.

My 40s: My oldest babysits for thirty minutes so I can go out for a walk. I call it my “by-by walk.” “Mommy’s going for a by-by walk,” I say to soothe my youngest, who cries when I leave, until he catches on that I’m not gone long. 

 He waves by-by out the window as I "power walk" down the side walk on my prescribed route. I return home feeling like I’ve done my duty on behalf of fitness. But where's the joy?

And soon my youngest is running.

My 50s: My husband has always been a jogger. We jog a four-mile route around the neighborhood streets. I’m proud I can keep up with him, mostly, and if not, he paces himself for me. I set him free the last half mile or so. He’s in the house when I jog into the driveway. I take to walking on the treadmill at the Y. 

My 60s: I begin this decade on a new fitness binge. I’ve gained weight and become more sedentary, which I hate. I join a group at the Y to get in shape and lose weight. I love the challenge. I can keep up with women decades younger than me. I’m energized by the friendly competition, and sign up for a second session, and then a third. I run hills and sprints. Wow! Feeling good!

Then my husband gets cancer! I crumble emotionally. I sleep late. I don’t feel like exercising. All the weight I’ve lost comes back, and more. I worry. For him. For me. For us both.

Then my ankle goes wonky--a tendon tear, bad mechanics—and I’m suddenly wearing an ankle orthotic. I’ll need it for life my doctor says. I feel unplugged.

I won’t jog again; I maybe could, but really. Why? But I can still walk. I find peace in the slower pace, peace in accepting the physical restrictions of aging.

It’s freeing.
Bittersweet, but freeing.

There is no need to compete with others or myself. Or count my steps. Or go fast..if I don’t want to. 

I bring my camera along as I walk and the sun points out photos for me to shoot. I meditate. I pray. I write stories in my head. I solve problems. Solutions unfold with each does peace.

My 70’s--coming soon: I don’t know what the next decade will bring. But if I’m fortunate, there will still be walks...on the beach, down country lanes, in the woods. Alone or with friends who want to chat. With my camera or not. Walks that heal the soul and clear the mind.

And, yes, I still run in my mind, at times...and wish I could break into that remembered runner’s high. One does not forget the wings of youth. 

The key is finding joy and contentment on the continuum of life. This I discover as I walk in the frosty breeze on a sunny winter’s day.

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