At age 52 I took up running. I feel fully alive. So great to get outside in the early morning and get the blood flowing. I am energized and ready to face the day.
I was a runner. I am a runner. Okay, I am a jogger. I used to be a runner – briefly, in my twenties. I like running. I don’t like running. When I set out, I feel like, “there is no way I can do this.” At the end I say, “wow, I did it” and that feels great. So, I recently took up running again. I am feeling pretty good about the exercise, though I am very slow and find it hard. I am doing intervals of running and walking with the amount of running/jogging increasing each week.
Who knew running was such an expensive sport. I have gradually acquired more clothes, shoes, and stuff as I have become committed to doing it. I started with what I had, but then I bought some better shoes and a few sleeveless tops. And some socks – did you know you can pay $14.95 for ONE PAIR of socks? But they are good – super cushioned – and make my feet much happier. Then I got some shorts. Then more socks. A towel that is supposed to keep me cool. My latest purchase, a strap that holds both my water bottle and my iPhone – and my hand doesn’t get tired. Since I have the exercise program on my phone that tells me when to run, when to walk and increases the time gradually, I need my phone but my hand is too sweaty to hold it. And in this heat, I need the water bottle. I’m sure I don’t really NEED any of these things, but I enjoy them and they help me.
So look for me at the park in the early morning or at the gym. And give me a smile or a nod of encouragement.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and post some of my early drawings. These were both made after about a month of drawing and shading simple shapes and practicing basic exercises. I still have a long way to go, but in the spirit of “ship something” (a la Seth Godin) and the inspiration of the Early to Rise challenge, I’m going to share these two drawings with the world. They are by no means ‘good’ or perfect, but I am pleased with how they came out, and more importantly, how much I am learning.
I am not a very good conversationalist. (Shh, don’t tell my friends – they might disagree!) I grew up in a family that loves small talk and social gatherings. I am an introvert so I am not very talkative. Let me give you an example. At a recent cocktail party, I met another woman was also an introvert. Let’s call her Lizzy. Lizzy runs a nonprofit so I asked her if the organization was a 501(c)(3). That is a yes or no question. It didn’t get very far. Since Lizzy seems to be an introvert she said something to the effect of ‘yes it is’. So then I asked what was their primary source of fundraising. And Lizzy replied that it was an annual gala dinner.
And from there the conversation fizzled. Not that I didn’t try. But it is hard to find ways of connecting with a total stranger. Unlike one of my children who never seems to meet a stranger, I do not instantly connect with very many people. I am not adept at thinking of good conversation starters or open ended questions. I don’t think on my feet like some people. I am better at listening. I process things internally and not verbally. My best mode of expression is probably writing, but even there I lean toward brevity.
I work with a wonderful group of colleagues. Our newest team member regularly accomplishes the impossible, usually before lunch, and always with a positive attitude. She is full of enthusiasm and ideas. Another colleague made a remark to me recently about how she was doing things to grow personally – and she had taken up running and another hobby. She had just run a 5k and felt great.
I was impressed and inspired by her desire to grow and stretch herself. And it challenged me to get serious, to be intentional about some of the things I have been meaning to do. So, I’ve taken up drawing. I try to practice for 10-15 minutes per day most days. I don’t get to it every day, but I have consistently been working at it for about 5 weeks now and am pleased to see that I am learning and improving. I also decided to get serious about exercise. I found that I already had an app on my phone which had a program for beginning runners which alternates walking and running, gradually increasing the amount of time spent running. It takes about 30-35 minutes and I have been doing it 3 times per week for the last four weeks. It’s still hard, and I’m not great at it – I’m pretty slow. But I am going to keep at it.
My next challenge is a book I just ordered called The Early to Rise Experience. It has 30 days of readings and inspirational messages. The promo for the book states “Mornings are pregnant with ideas, wisdom and peace. They are an untapped source for a more productive, balanced and joyful life.” Now I obviously know that I can get up earlier without reading a book! And I am naturally a morning person, but we all need a little kick sometimes to remind us to do what we really want and not sleep in when we could be living life to the full!
It’s exciting to see how all these proactive strategies are feeding my creative juices and making me more intentional, more thoughtful. I am full of expectation and fully alive.