Last fall I couldn’t run a mile. As a matter of fact, I had lost so much weight because of gallbladder issues that by the time it was removed, a year ago today, I could barely manage a half hour of walking. A good deal of the weight I lost by that point was muscle and I couldn’t see how I would ever regain the fitness ground I had lost in the few short months since the summer when I had put time and effort into regaining that ground. I also couldn’t write. Stringing more than a few sentences together, and on rare occasions a paragraph or two, was taxing. I had started to blog but my effort was sporadic even though I began blogging in the hope that I could jump-start my long dormant inner-writer. And as for what was coming next in my life, I hadn’t a clue.
Today I can easily run two miles and walk another mile or two besides. I lift weights again. I have regained muscle and even though that has pushed up the number on the scale and put me back in a size ten, it is were I was at my fittest ten years ago. Tone and level of fitness are what has always mattered. I can’t say there wasn’t a secret thrill in weighing in at 138 lbs, which I did at one point, but on my almost 5’10’’ frame it was alarmingly thin. And I didn’t like not being strong. Or able to run or swim. It just wasn’t me. I am 44 in just a bit over a month, and these are the years that truly can decide what one’s senior and elderly years might possibly look like. There are some things that proper nutrition and exercise can’t protect us against but they can help determine whether how active we will be able to be. I don’t want to be one of those 60 year olds hobbling about with too much weight on them, plagued with all sorts of preventable maladies and unable to participate in life to the fullest.
I am also able to write again. A great joy that I don’t think I can find the words, ironically, to really express. There is a line in the children’s novel, Harriet, the Spy, that talks about Harriet’s thoughts “limping along like crippled children” because she has been forbidden to journal in her notebook after it causes an incident at her school. That line about sums up my feelings about being unable to really write. I can fairly easily knock out 1500 to 2000 words at a sitting now. I blog daily for the most part, and thanks to the inspiration of Nanowrimo (National November Write a Novel Month), I am almost half-way through a complete first draft of my novel. I am really very proud of myself. Back in the dark days last fall, I knew that I wanted to take my experiences and generate a fiction novel from them. I hadn’t a clue where to begin though I did write a few short pieces that I am now expanding on or incorporating into my present work. Caregiving and then widowhood have been such growth experiences, and I know that other widowed people would find it appalling that I appreciate what I have gleaned from both, but I think that most people would acknowledge that even when you wouldn’t choose to experience tragedy on any level in your life, these experiences can change you for the better. They can provide you with insight and the basis on which to hopefully be a better person.
Finally, there is what comes next and who knows what that might be. My horoscope for yesterday told me that it is time for me to confront my fears, many of which have no rational basis, and get ready for the future. I don’t know how prepared a person can be for the unknowable future but planning and being open to all the possibilities is near always an excellent place to start. A lot of good people and things have come my way this last year. I am more grateful for them then I will ever be able to express. More things are coming, I believe, and I am going to strive to take them one at a time and be more appreciative than freaked out (which is my wont when I am feeling overwhelmed at the light speed my life seems to travel at anymore).
Whatever comes next. A Canadian winter. Houston in the New Year perhaps or a publishable novel that someone might really want to read. I am ready.