Did you see the story in the New York Times about Kathy Martin? She’s the 60-year-old runner who’s breaking track records around the world. She started running later in life and discovered she had a gift. Each race she participates in is a chance to beat the clock, and she does!
What I love about Kathy is that she’s grabbing hold of life and squeezing the juice out of it. She says she wants to be “all used up” by the end of her life, and I understand that sentiment. Today I woke up with the same realization I have many mornings: This could be my last day. I’m not trying to be morbid, but we don’t have guarantees about how many days we get.
Here in Bellingham, there was a fire last week. A boathouse on the harbor burned down and took a number of vessels with it. On one of those boats lived two people I didn’t know, but they were friends of friends of mine and their deaths shook me. Along with everyone else in town, I wanted to hear that they hadn’t been on board when the fire struck. We hoped the fact that no one had heard from them didn’t mean they’d perished. But the news, when it came, wasn’t good.
This loss brought back vivid memories of the night my own house burned down when I was eleven. My family was lucky. The smoke woke us up, and although we couldn’t reach any of the doors to get out, we all managed to jump from windows (my brother from the second floor) and survived with only a bit of smoke inhalation. But it was close.
For me now, when I wake up in the morning, I strive for my day to be filled with what makes me feel vibrant and happy. I don’t achieve this every day–I’m sort of given to anxiety, blue feelings and dark thoughts (especially in the winter)–but like Kathy Martin, I’m racing the clock. How much more authentic can I learn to be before my time is up? How much can I learn about joy? How deeply can I connect with those who love me?
What about you? What makes you feel vibrant and happy? Is it a morning run? Holding your dog or cat on your lap? Watching your children sleep? Making cookies with your grandchildren? Is it eating good food? Creating a piece of art? Worshiping silently beside a still lake?
May you race the clock with your whole heart and squeeze out of life all it has to offer you.
I’m not racing the clock, but I am focused on working on goals and finding joy in the small things. I’ve never been in a fire, but the loss of my spouse put me on a slightly bent track in my life. I’m going forward, but the journey has taken on new friends, interests and most of all, the search to live a full, happy life, even in the midst of tragedy and sometimes worry and despair. You just never know.