A friend sent me this post card a week or so ago. She’s from where I moved a year ago, although that’s not where I met her.
I think it must remind her, as it certainly does me, of an amazing and beautiful mountain there. Supposedly the most climbed mountain in the world I heard. It was right near my home, and within sight of my walks.
There are no mountains where I live now, and while I used to complain bitterly as I ran or biked up any hill, now I honestly miss them.
The monotony of flat terrain may be something I never get used to I’m afraid. Mountains just inspire. They fill one’s heart with strength and power.
I climbed that mountain a few times, as well as smaller versions, many more. I helped to rescue injured hikers off and even jogged a few trails back in the day. And one time I even got so lost on one of the local mountains that they were ready to rescue me with dogs when I made my way off a road after running miles and hours off course!
Now I only fear getting stuck in traffic or hit by another car. Or struck by lightning in a crazy tropical storm. If I’m really unlucky, a hurricane may hit.
But nothing will be like me and the mountain… My wits against hers. That raw, majestic solitude–just beckoning me: come closer.
Or up close and personal, these babies will someday turn into this:
A lovely ripe mango! This one is from the grocery store, but the unripe babies are hanging, along with tons of others, from a tree that I walk by every day. This tree is right near the sidewalk but I suppose is technically on the property of the private Christian school that is right near my house.
I see the kids running loops around the same loop where I walk. Plus I hear them on the other side of a great fenced area of bushes playing various sports like soccer and baseball.
In fact three times now I have tossed a runaway soccer ball back over the hedge to delighted voices of things like : hey look Mary there’s your ball. Then in the general direction from whence the ball came they yell: thanks!
So I’m kind of thinking when those mangoes ripen, that maybe I might just be entitled to one or two as payment? After all, soccer balls cost a lot!
My new idea for toning and working out. I guess I forgot this is right out my door. None of us in my place use it really, but I figured some kicking might help. It’s too short for much, but treading water is possible too. It’s got to do some warming up because it’s not heated, but then I plan to give it a go in between jogging. The jogs are so tough on me and my poor old bones, so maybe this will help!
Do you ever feel like you’re back in time? Like some situation, smell, place or song brings you back to a place you once were long ago… This weekend has been like that for me on a couple of occasions.
Yesterday, my Mom and I decided to go clothing shopping together–in a consignment shop, which I have to say we’ve never done. But once there, I was immediately transported back to childhood in NYC, Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s maybe–my hand in hers, picking out school outfits for the first day of class. I’ve not been clothing shopping with her for many, many years. And while yesterday, we were pretty much in our own bubbles, picking out clothing for ourselves, it still felt reminiscent of those days.
When I tried on a cute little red coat and asked her if she liked it, and she said no, I took it off and hung it back up on the rack. Because, she is after all, my Mom and knows best what I should be wearing on my first day of school.
And I’ve been trying to avoid looking in the mirror lately, as the passage of time has not always been good to me. My hard-body runner image no longer stares back at me these days. It’s a sad sight to see now. But recently, I’ve decided it’s time to take time back into my own hands.
So, I pulled out my old running shoes and dusted off the New England road dirt, slipped them on and well, off I trotted. I wouldn’t exactly call it a run–more like a slow lope. My intentions were to do the loop as best I could and stop and walk when I needed. But to my surprise, while my legs may look flabby, my lungs are still young and carried me the whole way without stopping!
While I jogged along, I warped to so many running days–gosh, years and years of them: the smells, the sounds, the wonderful deep breaths. I truly love running and was so sad when my body failed me and I had to give it up. But maybe, just maybe–if I’m careful, and now that I live where it’s flat and warm, I can slowly bring it back into my life.
Time warps come with a whiff–our olfactory system is one of the oldest and most powerful. It will trigger a memory in our brain’s limbic system. It’s a beautiful thing that nature created. So we could find where food once was maybe, or who was an enemy, or family. Like a flash, we are carried to a place, just by a smell.
How many times have we had to sit in our cars because a song came on–and we were back in high school–dancing with our sweet heart, or feeling broken-hearted because it had been ‘your’ song, the one where they dumped you.
Until we can beam up and be transported like in Star Trek, I suppose we’ll have to make do with our time warp memories. The trick is to be tuned into our triggers: so breath deep, listen carefully, look with eyes wide open and have a nice trip!
How many times in life do we wait? If we think about it, we probably spend most of our lives waiting for something! Sometimes good things, sometimes bad things–but it seems like minutes, days, weeks are spent simply waiting….
For the bus or a friend to take us to work; or our car to warm up.
The divorce papers to go through or the wedding date to arrive.
Nine months of wondering what sex the baby will be or wading through the adoption proceedings, or if the in-vitro took.
Wondering if the kid will ever be potty trained and then if they will ever grow up to be respectful, loving adults.
For vacation to come–or even the weekend.
The doctor’s call with results of the tests.
Months of treatments and sickness to be over.
One more minute of sobriety turning into years.
Your birth family to show up one day.
Morning to arrive and a glorious sunrise/bedtime after a grueling day.
The kids to all get along.
Waking up every day with joy and no worries.
Never looking back.
For your dog to actually talk.
The end of that triathlon, marathon, 5K.
Life to really begin.
The perfect blog piece.
The yelling to stop or the bruises to heal.
Summer to come or maybe winter if you like snow.
How many more? What are you waiting for…? We wait for so much!
It feels like we’re often standing on the edge of a cliff and we don’t know what’s down below. But as we get closer, our heart thumps in our chests and peering over can be the death of us. So, we must just stand back and be patient–something that is not a virtue of mine!
Today I wait to hear the final word on the new job. Nothing huge really in the grand scheme of the list, but for some reason I feel nervous. Sleeping will be hard tonight–I’ll be up tossing and turning and, well, waiting. Why couldn’t they have emailed today?
But such is life: dots of doing little things connected by endless moments of waiting. So that, my blogging friends, is what I will continue to do…..
As often happens, while I’m laying in bed, I have many thoughts about my life. Last night I was thinking about the whole paramedic fiasco and how over the last years my desire in staying in this career has dimmed. It surely did not happen overnight and there was no one thing that made it happen.
I had always told myself when I felt that way I would get out and now, over the next certification time frame, I must make a decision.
But my thoughts went beyond my career in EMS. I thought about how hard it is to let go of something like being a paramedic not because it was a career and it was hard to get the certification, but mostly because it defined me as a person.
In a small community so many people knew me and I would bump into patients all the time; that or ex-coworkers, nurses or Doctors I had known from hospitals. I was always proud to say I was a paramedic. It was an honorable career, so to say goodbye to it is not easy.
It made me think of other parts of my life that made me me — parts that I had to also give up over the years. One huge part was my running. I started running when I was 21 to lose weight but immediately knew it filled some deep hole in my life. That addictive, busy, compulsive me had found an outlet. I became a very competitive runner quite late in my career and this was like a drug. I ran for many, many years.
But sadly my body couldn’t withstand what I put it through and it slowly began to deteriorate. At first I couldn’t believe it or admit it either. I ran on through debilitating and embarrassing neurological deficits. Finally after years of failure and downhill defeats, I had to finally admit I was a runner no more. It was crushing to me and my ego.
And the last thing in my life I had to learn to let go of was my picture of a life with a man. It was what I had always believed, thought, knew I would have for myself. It was, after all, what I wanted. Years went by, so did the husbands, then the boyfriends–and all failed. I tried everything I knew how: all the websites, changing myself, begging my friends, soul-searching, reading… Until finally years had gone by here too and I looked deep inside myself and saw something else. There was another picture hiding in me. I stood alone, happy, whole and complete. But it took years to accept this picture and to get others to believe me and let me be.
Through the years we evolve. Do the things that happen to us that make us change who we are because we really want them to or are they accidents? It’s hard to know if we can really control some or any of these things. As young people we seem to blunder head long into life with utter disregard with what effect it may have in the long run. But maybe it doesn’t really matter?
It can be very hard when something that made us who we were suddenly isn’t there anymore. We may feel we are not the same person anymore, but really we are I think. Because those parts of us are still there inside flowing within us.
The difference is that now they are waiting to be mixed with something new so we can become a brighter, bigger and better us.
In the years I ran marathons, in order not to get overwhelmed by the monumental task of running 26.2 miles, a friend once told me: just put one foot in front of the other and before you know it you’ll hit the finish line.
I have used this as a credo for many daunting steps I’ve had to face since. Break them down into smaller steps: look down at your feet and not ahead at the bigger picture. When you do look up, the end goal will be in sight. It’s worked well.
Being one who is a “brain-looper”: one who goes over and over every detail of a plan a million times; one who can think things through ad nauseam–breaking up a huge plan into bits and pieces has given me a greater sense of peace and taken away my chest lurching anxiety.
Planning helps me to not only simply organize my life in a comforting way, but it gives me a sense of control when facing a new venture that may be taking away the normalcy that I find it keeps the demons at bay.
The gray areas in my life lurk like a misty aura hovering around my physical being. Keeping a sense of routine and sameness has always kept me sane and yes, happier. Knowing I can depend on my everyday things, surroundings, peeps–has come to heal me.
This new thrashing out on my own is very interesting and I am tackling it my way. When the tsunami of upcoming things I must do in order to make it happen come heading toward my shore, I stand very still and think: no, today it’s only raining and will simply find an umbrella. Tomorrow I will check the weather and see what’s in store.
My heart slows down, the tides recede and the clouds begin to part. This way I know I can tackle the present.
When tomorrow comes, I will again take a big breath, tie on my running shoes and hit the pavement again. I’ve trained hard for this race, put in the miles, run many hills, taken my spills, pulled enough muscles to know what I’m facing. And if around the next corner there is something unexpected, well, I’ll suck it up like I did in all those races I ran years ago and keep my eye on the prize!