Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A guy walks into a bar*

On July 4th 2004 I quit smoking. On July 5th, 2004 I started running.
The first thing was a simple decision to not die before my mother. I simply did not want to put her through the act of burying another child.
Yeah, that's really why I quit.

The running thing was more complicated, one part distraction from grief, one part the not dying before my mom thing, and two parts wanting to do something that was HARD and a little bit like punishment.
I'm currently still saving for the therapy I probably need to sort that last bit out.

I've been struggling with my running since I moved to North Carolina in Spring 2005. I've had one injury after another, struggled with finding a gym I didn't hate, and had a horrible time sticking to any kind of training program. I promised myself this year to get my act together and train for an event.

My life finally feels like my own here. I'm not sure what took so long, the complete career change, the leaving the life/place/friends I've had for 20 plus years behind and moving somewhere I knew absolutely no one. Nothing in that to make me feel little off-kilter, right?
There is no way I can train to run 26.2 miles when my kilter is crooked.

Just after the first of the year I started planning, and I started with the need to lose some weight that had found me. It's funny how when you stop running 30-35 miles a week and don't stop eating like you're still running 30-35 miles/week - the weight just finds you and hangs around.
Literally, around.

This summer I had an annual physical, and yes, for the person that said "don't you think you should be over that by now" four years after losing my brother I get all choked up when I have to talk to a medical professional about my family history. The nurse practitioner I saw said great things about my health, my blood work, my body weight and actually asked if she could record my heart for teaching purposes (Ohhellzyeahyoucan) I'm approaching "a certain age" and so I heard a lot of sentences that started with "a woman your age should..." I'll be unhappy about this another time, currently I still feel too good about the visit to get all weird about growing older.

Somewhere between that and the weight loss meetings I've been attending, I've been doing some significant thinking about my health.
I think it started with my mom, she'll be 76 this year, still drives from south Florida to North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and/or New Jersey and Massachusetts about three times a year. She walks about 5 miles a day, and runs around after her two youngest granddaughters almost daily. My mom, she is no slacker. My dad is about a year older, and my last email from him said he had just finished his first book (to be released at the end of September), and is going antelope hunting in Montana and deer hunting in western Nebraska later this fall. My dad, not a slouch.

Both sets of my grandparents were dead and gone before I was out of grade school. Two, I never met, were dead years before I was born.

I have no intention of lecturing anyone on taking better care of their health. None. I smoked for years, and have been known to eat a tub of cool whip for dinner. In college I lived on free donuts the cops brought us, coke, stale coffee, Ramen noodles and Hormel chili for more years than I can to remember.

I do want to say this though, just about an hour ago, my sister Karen called me, to tell me she is a grandma. Her son, Matthew and his wife Erin welcomed their first baby girl, Jodi, into the world tonight. My mom is a great grandma. That little baby doesn't have any way of understanding how many people already love her, but I'm grateful to be a part of a family that loved themselves and us enough to take care of themselves so they could be here long enough to meet her.

For all it's warts, and age spots, this life is not so bad, and I'll take the warts to hear the happy in my moms voice when she tells me about her first great-grandbaby.

*I am tired of trying to title posts - I am using the first phrase that pops into my head when I put the blinky cursor in the title box. Deal with it.


kenju said...

"My life finally feels like my own here."

That's good to hear! And I like your title. Happy great-aunting (is that a word?)

Doctor Err said...

fricking finally. apparently reading your blog is something else you shouldn't do before coffee...
there's a lot here.
* if you didn't still get choked up sometimes... you wouldn't be as good as you are. loving someone is not something to take lightly...or something you should do just while someone is here.
*taking care of yourself is just making one more part of the world better, oh beautiful thing in my garden. tend away....
*life is so good...getting older is a gift.
*yeah for aunties! double yay for great aunties!

Mojo said...

There's no conceivable way you could understand why reading this makes me so happy. And I'm not gonna try and explain. It would take too long.

But your footnote reminded me of an old joke. A Native American child asked his mother, "Momma, is it true that our people name their children after the first thing they see when the child is born?"

To which Mom replied, "Why do you ask this Two Dogs Humping?"


JustRun said...

I feel like a dork but congratulations to you on everything. I'm proud of you and don't even know you (though you did send me a cool gift once). :) It's very cool to watch (read) how someone turns their life around (even if it's just in certain ways), especially when they do it themselves. And I imagine it's even cooler when you are the one doing it.

It's not without it's speed bumps and setbacks, but hell if you don't keep trying anyway.

tiff said...

Three cheers!

And Happy Aunting!

handy said...

Pretty, you are doing an absolutely awesome job with the direction of your life. Of all the people I know in this world (and that's quite a few) you are right up there on top with having your shit together. We all have *those days* and get past them, but in the great scheme of things, it's the big picture that matters. You are on the right track and I respect and applaud you for it...

caroline said...

OMG! Matt's a dad!!!???!!! I'm at "that certain age" you mentioned, and have not really felt old until I read this! :)

Congrats to the Craver and Neff families!


Anonymous said...

Yay and congrats! You're still an inspiration, which is a good thing in an auntie.

Tracy Lynn said...

I still feel that way in that situation too, since my dad died.