Bill and I are in Arizona right now. His 90-year-old mom lost her dear friend and companion of eight years a few weeks ago. She’s also lost most of her sight to macular degeneration in the last many months. We’re here to help her get some practical tasks taken care of as well as to do the daily crossword puzzle with her. Each morning we sit with the newspaper and collaborate to get the puzzle complete, coming back to it throughout the day until all the boxes are filled. I’m actually fairly useless with a crossword puzzle, so I mostly just Google for the answers while Bill and Dora brainstorm and count letters and look things up in her well-used crossword dictionary.
I’ve made a point to be thankful for my not-so-perfect-but-perfectly-adequate eyesight while I’ve been here. I’ve noticed her struggle and have taken note of all the things I take for granted: I can read nutrition values and cooking instructions on food labels; I can find what I’m looking for in the refridgerator; I can read contact information in my address book; I can pick out the numbers on my telephone; and I can see where I’m placing my foot when I walk or run. What if I couldn’t?
Aging was starting to seem sad to me until I got here to Dora’s house. Even though my running has been improving this year (2013) due to my consistent training under Coach Carol’s tutelage, I feel sore more often than I did a decade ago. And my menses are changing—one month not arriving at all, carrying on for two weeks the next. I can see definite changes in my face: wrinkles and random hairs where there used to be none. Worst of all: the girls are sagging and I’ve had to invest in more expensive and technologically advanced bras. Sigh.
BUT, being down here with Dora has made me reflect on how fabulous it is that so many things are working just as they should for the moment. I run as many miles a week as I want, and my mind is good (most days). I have enough money to take care of my needs, plus a little extra. Once again, I’m reminded that the present moment is the only moment we have. If we look ahead to the losses in our lives (not knowing what they’ll actually turn out to be, of course) we can get paralyzed. I do this sometimes, and I’m lucky that life reminds me to hold still and engage gratitude. Probably the most encouraging thing to note while I’m down here is that in spite of her losses, Dora still finds things to be grateful for. We humans are such self-adjusting creatures, filling up whatever space we actually have with Life.
What have you remembered to appreciate this week?
On running: Bill and I spent a couple of days in Disneyland on our feet for a total of about 24 hours, so my feet were sore and I took a day off.
Yesterday, here in AZ, I got out for about 8.5 miles—a couple of those at a 9:30 pace—and will get out for several more pace runs this week and next. One thing we love to do when we come to AZ is to run on the trails around the Phoenix area. We’ll go over to Thunderbird Park a handful of times. And we’re planning on running a 30K trail race next Sunday. I’ll give you details as I have them. Arizona is glorious this time of year, and I know “glory” may not be the word for the weather you’ll be experiencing in the coming weeks. Still, what are you up to runner friends?