Category Archives: aging

The light of the moon

The other night I looked up into the sky and gazed at the moon. It was just a sliver of a thing at first appearance, a soft yellow crescent just hanging in the sky. But, as I looked more closely, the dark shadow of the remainder of the moon was visible as it completed the circle. A lyric from my favorite Waterboys’ song came into my head:

I pictured a rainbow / You held it in your hands / I had flashes / But you saw the plan / I wandered out in the world for years / While you just stayed in your room / I saw the crescent / You saw the whole of the moon

I sighed, wondering how our focus can often be so different from someone else’s, how what we see can so dramatically diverge from what another sees when we’re looking at the same exact thing. Or person. How do you explain it?

There have been times in my life when what I see when I look at a person is dramatically different than what others might observe. Where I might see someone as fallible and imperfect, another might draw a far more negative conclusion. Whose perspective is more wrong – the one that sees the dark or the one that sees the light? How do we come to interpret and process the same object or person in disparate manners?

I have no answers, just instincts and optimism. My eyes might linger on that bright spot in the sky, while others can’t see beyond the darkness and I believe that’s their choice. While there are times when I may wish for that same negative perspective I know that, for me, I’ll continue to do my best to see the light and the whole of moon.

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Filed under aging, beauty, love, musings, Observations, relationships, Uncategorized, winter

Resolving to find grace

A new year is probably the ultimate holiday gift, don’t you think? Receiving the chance to try again to get things right, to attempt something new, to do something better, is a luxury not everyone gets and while I’m not a devotee of the typical new year’s resolution, I do get a little jazzed by a clean slate on which to write a fresh chapter.

I’ve decided that my task for 2019 is to work on accepting what others give me with grace. Whether it’s a physical gift, a kind word, or an opportunity to experience something, I want to be able to receive and accept it with openness. That may sound simple to you, but it isn’t always easy for a person who is accustomed to meeting their own needs and prides themself on being fiercely independent.

This grace to which I aspire is something I probably should have begun working on long ago – like that time a friend’s family took me to Florida with them for vacation and I attempted to pay for my meal* at a rest area on the Jersey Turnpike. My friend’s father spoke to me quietly, with kindness in his voice, and told me they had invited me with the expectation that they would be paying my way, unheard of (and unimaginable) in my world. Just like seeing Florida for the first time, his generosity will be something I’ll never forget.

On New Year’s Eve I had my first chance to start practicing being graceful. I was presented with a thoughtful and unexpected gift, a gift that I might have been inclined to resist because it was generous and felt like too much after having been hosted as a houseguest for nearly a week. Instead of immediately declining though, I paused, took a breath and accepted my present with a sincere thank you. I love the gift and will use it frequently and I know that my thoughtful and dear friend was happy giving it to me.

How about you? Is there something you’re hoping to find or create in your own life this year?

*I had $50, given to me by my brother, for a 10 day vacation. I was poor – and clueless.

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Filed under aging, beauty, favorites, friends, holidays, ideas, love, musings, Observations, Uncategorized

Hiking with the golden girls

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on my feet exploring and reacquainting myself with Palm Springs. In the morning, I hoofed it to Palm Canyon Drive to wander along the wide avenue, browsing shop windows and people watching. The cloudless blue sky and mild temperatures made it easy to lose myself for a couple of hours and I really enjoyed my alone time.

Later in the day, my friend R and I drove to meet a friend of hers for a walk, that is a walk for me to take with R’s friend, J. An MS diagnosis has caused my friend to curtail her activities and she wanted to give me a chance to exert myself, so naturally a hike with 80 year-old J was just what I needed. Um, ok.

I’ve walked and run these trails before and they are no bullshit. The grade can be pretty steep, the trail is often quite wide, but equally rutted and rocky and the surface is an unsympathetic sandy dirt. Introductions were made and a remarkably fit and youthful J and I headed up the hill in the warm sunshine.

It turns out that J, a retired Canadian teacher-librarian (!), and I immediately hit if off. Our conversation, between catching our breath from the demands of the trail, was easy and comfortable. We talked about sons and husbands and divorce and politics and life and the time flew by. Her fitness was impressive and she told me how conscientiously she has worked to stay active, how it hasn’t been easy but she feels rewarded by her efforts. She was a marvel.

We made our way down the hill to meet R, who we were going to walk a bit back up the hill with to cool down. As we collected R, another woman familiar to my friends joined us, E. Walking poles in hand with eyes of the brightest blue, E, another active 80 year-old, became part of our posse. I learned she was a retired physical therapist and it seems, judging from her level of fitness, she was good at her job. E made some suggestions to me to work on my bothersome piriformis muscle and shared some thoughts on staying active. Her walk with us was her second time of the day to hit the hill and she said it wasn’t unusual for her to visit the trail three times in a day. Wow.

Growing old can be daunting. We don’t do a great job taking care of the aged in our country and I could really get myself freaked out about staying independent and healthy, but after my time yesterday afternoon, I’m feeling more inspired and positive than I’ve ever been previously about what 70 or 80 might look like. Honestly, I’m hoping to grow up and become Rose.

 

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Filed under aging, beauty, California, Exercise, friends, Hiking, musings, Observations, Uncategorized, vacation

Being a better love-r

Despite having returned in recent months to therapy, I still find running solo to be the best way to stretch my brain (and legs) while exploring my world, both inner and outer. It’s when I feel most able to release the leash I at times hold on my thoughts.

I’ve been reflecting, as one does this time of year, and I’ve been thinking specifically about the men I’ve loved over the years and how those relationships changed me and impacted my life. Without a doubt, each one has been unique. It seems that love, like snowflakes to go with a nearly-winter theme, is never quite the same twice. That’s probably what keeps us coming back for more – we often don’t immediately recognize it because it sneaks up on us just as often as it sweeps us off of our feet.

Some of the lasting reminders of a love affair are obvious (hello, children!) while others are only revealed cryptically to those beyond IRL friends. While there have been gifts and lessons and disappointments along the way, I’m starting to realize that the greatest impact on me from my romantic history hasn’t really been on me at all.

No, instead, it’s about how I’ve learned from each relationship, each love, how to be a better love-r the next time. I have an improved understanding of humans and how we each have our own unique needs, needs which aren’t always easily or clearly expressed. I’ve become more patient with another’s flaws because I can more clearly see my own. Instead of immediately thinking that someone’s behavior is directed at me, I’ve finally grasped that it just might be who they are without really having anything to do with me at all. I’ve certainly learned what I want from a relationship but, just as importantly, I’ve realized that being willing to learn what another wants, and finding happiness in being able to provide that to them, comes with its own measure of satisfaction.

Being someone’s girlfriend, partner, wife or lover has maximized my capacity to fill those roles. Understanding that love doesn’t necessarily come with a guarantee of happily ever after can be daunting, but knowing that there’s always another chance to be the best love-r you’ve ever been is its own reward. I’ll just keep trying. How about you?

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, relationships, Uncategorized

Syracuse Half Marathon – 11/11/18

While I don’t expect I’ll ever be blasé about running 13.1 miles, I do feel increasingly comfortable with the distance. I won’t say it’s easy, but it a manageable distance that challenges without much post-race discomfort.

Yesterday, I ran my 10th half, an accomplishment I never could have predicted when I did my first in 2016. This particular race was scheduled perfectly for my life, in that it was in Syracuse, where my brother lives, and on his birthday, which made it the ideal weekend destination.

I went into the race feeling ok about my conditioning, but not necessarily as well trained as I was for last month’s Newport Half. I anticipated some hills, which would slow down my pace, but hadn’t imagined the picturesque snow falling from the sky and completing the pretty, nearly winter conditions. It was cool and appropriate for snowy Syracuse.

The route began and finished at the OnCenter. The miles in between were primarily residential neighborhoods with some business/commercial areas thrown into the mix. The crowds were fun and supportive, especially in the early miles. For me, the last couple of miles were less than spectacular in terms of scenery and performance, but I pushed through and crossed the finish line in 2:14:17 – a new PR to best my Newport PR of 2:17:01.

I had kind of given up on ever completing a half in less than 2:15, so I’m thrilled with my time and super proud that I seem to be getting faster, not older.* The yoga class I took on Saturday, before we headed to Syracuse, definitely helped me physically and mentally. During the times when I felt most tired, I worked to release tension or tightening in all of my muscles which were not being put to use to propel me forward. Gripped fists? Let them go. Facial grimace? Smile. Weight of the world on my shoulders? Shrug it off. Thanks, Samara!

My race calendar is, sadly, pretty blank other than next month’s Last Run, but I’m looking at a few new events for 2019. Any favorite 1/2 marathon courses you might recommend?

*Credit for this wise statement goes to a special friend who joined me for the weekend. He’s smart, right?

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Filed under aging, birthdays, Events, family, road trips, running, sunday, Uncategorized, upstate New York

When Friday is Tryday

It seems like there have been a lot of Good Fridays recently. A visit home, my birthday, the annual union picnic, a couple of galas… I’ve lost count of how many there have been but, it’s safe to say, it’s been quite a few Fridays since I’ve been home, wrapped in my favorite bathrobe, by 8:00. And last night, it felt pretty damn good. 

The week has been draining. A cold is kicking my ass, our world feels increasingly out of control and I can’t seem to find the time to take care of everything in my usual fashion. After a really physically active week (26 miles and 2.5 hours of yoga)last week, I’ve been too exhausted to exercise in recent days and so I’ve felt sick and sluggish.  Not a good combination for me mentally, to be honest.

So, last night I decided to push myself and take a run for the first time in a week. I figured if I couldn’t run consistently because of the hacking cough I’m currently victim of, I’d walk. I just needed to try. 

It was nearly dark when I hit Delaware Avenue and I wondered if maybe I had underdressed. Should I have worn gloves? A hat? The thermostat said it was a moderate 55 degrees, but my body has been struggling to maintain an even temperature and I felt a little chilly. I found myself, surprisingly, running a bit faster than usual. The miles started to add up.

As always, my thoughts ran with me. I reflected on memories recently made and how different my life is from last year, from even six months ago. Letting go, and making the changes necessary to open myself up to something new, has been difficult for me.  It feels like a combination of walking, running faster than it seems  I am, and not necessarily being prepared for whatever lies ahead. And worth trying, of course.

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Filed under aging, Albany, Events, friends, Local, musings, Observations, relationships, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Rain down on me

0F1F2461-D37D-477C-947E-F8C72B2599EE.jpegRecently I ran in a drenching rain that soaked me. I pushed myself through the downpour knowing that, unlike many other weather-induced, physical circumstances, once I was soaked, I was soaked. Wet is wet.  As long as I kept moving, I wouldn’t get cold and it would be fine.

It didn’t matter that my clothes, head-to-toe, were completely saturated. The fact that my tank top and skort clung to me didn’t bother me. The loop I was taking that night was 5 miles, my go to distance, and I felt strong, not sexy. I was running alone and for myself, not for anyone who might be witnessing my endorphin-fueled elation. 

As I rounded a corner, I was struck by a memory from another rain sodden day a long time ago. I was maybe 14 years old and had walked the two miles from my house to town in a light and misting rain, loving every minute of it. It was a pretty walk, mostly downhill, with lots of trees and a gorge with a stream flowing through it. It was beautiful and, even as a young teenager, I appreciated it.

After getting into town, I stopped at the Seven-11 to pick something up and the manager approached me. He looked me up and down and with a smile that made me uncomfortable, and told me I “looked good wet.” I remember being puzzled. What the heck did that mean? What would make someone say that?

All these years later and I still think of that day and how I felt. My joy in being outside and the internal warmth I had gained from my efforts disappeared as soon as he spoke to me. I felt cold and exposed in a way that was new and embarrassing. Four words from this grown man’s mouth completely changed my experience that day and continue to echo in my head after nearly 40 years. 

On this particular night, decades later, I just ran faster.

 

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Filed under aging, Exercise, girlhood, musings, running