Friday, November 7, 2014

NaBloPoMo- Day 7: Is this a sprint or a marathon?

When I was 35, I thought nothing of staying up late and then getting up early. I ordinarily worked long hours and was a mom to young children and walked the dog and danced at wedding receptions. I had a lot of energy.
At 55, I am discovering that there is a wall, and I hit it regularly. Early and often. I am keenly aware of how much I benefit from a good night's sleep, from adequate hydration and sunlight, and an occasional change of scenery, which is the human equivalent of repotting a plant, I think. And in contrast, I am just as aware of how too little sleep, skipping meals, not drinking enough water, skimping on the dogs' walks, and not scheduling fun (preferably outdoor fun) is just.plain.stupid. I don't need any reminders that (my)life is stressful. Most of us lead stressful lives. Some of the stress is positive and life-giving. Some of it is draining, soul-sucking. I have a friend who sets a beautiful table and cooks healthy, vegan fare, just for herself. She posts a picture on her Facebook wall, and they are a sight to behold and cause envy, at least in me. Supreme self-care.
Another friend heads to the gym for CrossFit training at 5:00 a.m. I am sure it's part of her self-care. My beloved spends time with Tetris, arranging puzzle pieces, perhaps because it's one place where things are neat and orderly and the round comes to an end. So many tasks in our lives are repetitive. Some of us have chronic conditions, or illness that is hard to diagnose, or jobs that are not fulfilling and life is about endurance more than it is about joy. Running a marathon is not the same as being a sprinter. On-going circumstances are different than ones that have a beginning and an end. The possibility of recurrence of an illness, perhaps, creates a different sort of race. And how one trains for that which is chronic, long-lasting or without an end in sight is very different than situations that resolve or stabilize more quickly. Friends along the race course help immensely. I know that for sure. People who understand without saying a word or are funny and shout from the side of the course, "You can do it! And the same medal is waiting for you at the finish as the Kenyans!!" are as or more effective than ibuprofen. Friends who remember to ask about a person who going through something chronic are as dear as those who deliver casseroles. A text that says, "Hope this test brings answers" is as golden as a Hallmark card.
I'm so grateful for a circle of friends and family who cheer like bad boys and girls. I am still looking for my ritual, for that which refills me when I get to Heartbreak Hill and hit the wall. I am sure that the secret is to have a practice of some sort, whether it's prayer, yoga, knitting, cooking, tennis, journaling, observing Sabbath that postpones wall-hitting. I still haven't found what I'm looking for, but I will. And whether it's a sprint or a marathon, I feel sure that when I do figure out my self-care practice, I'll feel 35 again. Images from Flickr, Susan, and the Mini-Marathon.

1 comment:

Teri said...

is it weird that I'm impressed with your 35 year old self? Because this 34 year old is no longer capable of late nights plus early mornings. One late night can throw off my sleep schedule for a week (as evidenced by the fact that I am reading blogs at midnight).

So...when you find that magic thing that keeps the wall a little farther off, please share. Until then...holding you and D in the light while you run your race.