On becoming a woman of a certain age…

When that age is somewhere between 50 and death it’s not as easy as you think.

And yes, despite my immature youthful demeanor and lifestyle, apparently I am exactly that.  Or nearly.  Too close to it now for my comfort anyway.  And I’m not handling it very well… not at all in fact.  Because I am getting old.

Old.

Such a final and sad word.  With so much baggage.  None of which matches or speaks of a trip to somewhere fun and exotic.  Instead speaking of a one way trip to the end, a trip that gets shorter every day, and the resultant feeling that my time here is running out.

Old.

And I’m laughing about it, I’m trying to embrace it, but I’m secretly scared.  Okay, terrified.  Yeah… terrified… that’s it.  So I’m laughing on the outside but I’m crying inside and I’m not sure how to make this better for me.  How to get past all my preconceived notions about being this age, about being old, about reconciling my ever-growing list of things that I still want to do in this life with the reality that my time alive is getting shorter every day.  Because next week I will be 50.

Old.

One of the biggest struggles I guess is that I’m not sure how to act this new age.  How does one be 50?  What does 50 act like or look like?  Because I’ve seen others in my life do it but I don’t want to do it that way.  I want to own this age.  Change it so people see it as not so frightening.  Not so old.  Just a number.  But I’m not sure how.  I’ve got so much more I want to do… get my Masters, buy a home, travel, become a grandparent… there, that’s not too much to ask for, right?  But next week I am 50, and the feeling that my time is running out is overwhelming me today, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.  And today I’m feeling like that number defines me as only one thing.

Old.

Fifty… half a century… the diamond anniversary of life… and instead of diamonds all I want is more time.  And that gift is the one nobody can give me.   More time.  Something so precious, so finite, and yet indefinable.  Something that is flying by.  Time.  More time.  So much more… please.  Because I want to live long enough to be older… to redefine another decade of life like I figure I’ll redefine this one… and just like I redefined 40.

Older.

My 40s were magical.  They started in tragedy and ended by being my most productive decade of life yet.  Becoming a parent, finishing college, changing careers, running two half marathons… how does one top all that?  But instead of asking that, perhaps I should be asking why my 50s can’t be more of the same?  Why can’t I grow into this new age and make it fit me and how I live, rather than fitting into the outdated perceptions that being 50 comes loaded with and allowing those preconceived notions to change me.  Make me different.  Make me older.

Older.

So with all this, what you need to know is that I’m fighting a battle right now.  A battle against growing old.  I’m giving no quarter.  I’m not quitting.  I may be inappropriate.  I may be ridiculous.  I may be childish.  But I’m always me.  And I’m not growing old… just older… and I’ll never grow up because if you get to 50 and you haven’t done it yet I hear you don’t have to.  All you need to do for me is say thank you.  Because you’re growing older too and you need to thank me in advance for paving a new way to do so.  A way that isn’t so old.  You’re welcome.

So on June 11 it’s happy birthday to me… fifty is here… this should be very interesting… very interesting indeed.  I’ve got no App, no Map, no guidebook, and no instructions… it’s all new and different from this point on.

Growing older.

Let’s have some fun!

Be a Princess? Yeah, I can do that…

Of course it’s harder than just typing the words.  Yeah, and it’s harder than walking into a shop, putting on a Tiara, and et voila!  There I am, ROYAL!  Oh I wish it was that easy.  I also wish I could just “Bibbity Bobbity Boo” it into happening.  But no, it’s been hard damned work becoming royalty.  It’s hard damned work making a dream come true.  But I can.

First let me explain.  I’m not working on becoming a real honest-to-goodness House of Windsor Royal or some such nonsense.  Er, no.  Clearly, being born in Dandridge, TN as the descendent of German farmers and Irish horse thieves that’s pretty much not going to happen.  Besides, the crown I’m seeking is far harder to attain.  You see, I want to be a Disney Running Princess, with a RunDisney Princess Crown Medal around my neck, after I’ve run 13.1 miles through The Magic Kingdom and EPCOT, and I even get to run through Cinderella’s Castle which is really a dream come true.  It’ll be just like my first visit, when I was just a little kid and I skipped through those gates and up the street because I was so damned glad to finally be a part of the magic.  And that’s what it is you know.  Magic.  And this Sunday, at the buttcrack of dawn, I’ll make that magic happen, and I’ll make this particular dream come true.

Because I can do that.

Yes, yes I really can.  Even if I didn’t believe it when I first said the words.  Even if I’ve had lots of doubts along the way.  Even if it’s been harder than I ever dreamed possible to make this happen.  Because making this “Can” happen started out as a dream.  Something I didn’t even start turning into a plan until years after I first said the words.  So it’s a dream that’s been a very long time coming indeed.  But first it started as words spoken out loud in the sunshine way back in February of 2011, as I lounged by the pool at Disney’s Yacht Club on our yearly Anniversary visit.  The dream came when I saw all of the happy and tired runners from that day’s Disney Princess Half Marathon partying on the sand, with their so shiny medals glinting in the afternoon sun.  After first thinking “what a bunch of idiots” I immediately had another thought that was just ridiculous.  Because that second thought I said out loud.  And the words I said were “you know, I can do that”.  And that small sentence?  Those six words?  They changed everything.

Everything.

Those words were prescient, because those words, spoken four long years ago, have come true.  Then I could not do this thing that I’m doing this weekend, but today I can.  I can do it, I will do it, and truly it’s been worth every bit of the metric crap-ton of work I’ve invested, the gallons of sweat I’ve lost as I trained in the hottest summer we’ve had in years, and the laser beam focus than most ADHD people can never muster the energy to pull together in order to be able to do so.  This weekend I will meet that long-delayed goal.

I will be a Princess.

A running Princess.  A running princess who has run a long way from where she started when she first spoke those words.  When she first began moving toward a nearly impossible goal from the most unlikely of beginnings.  Because back when I said that?  The furthest distance I could run was maybe one city block, if someone was chasing me with an axe, and they looked reasonably healthy.  Last year I still couldn’t do it.  I ran/walked the Royal Family 5k on Princess Weekend and I managed a 17 min. mile.  And while that was definitely not great, it also wasn’t as bad as before.  It was progress.  And this Sunday I will realize that dream, with what I hope is something around a 13 min./mile.  But whatever I finish with, it’s mine, I earned it, and it all began with that simple statement of “I can do that”.

Those words are damned dangerous.  They can change your life.

For me though, making those words come true about this and my other goals of the last ten years means that I now know truly that I can accomplish anything.  As long as I say those words.  As long as I believe.  As long as I work.  Hard.  As long as I do not quit.  I can.  And the lesson here for you guys is that you should never stop believing in your dreams… because only you can make them come true.  You can do that.

I can do it.

I can.

Food for thought…

not-perfect

Sharing from a friend… because I’m a long-time victim of perfection paralysis. Imagine how good you could be if you just let go of perfect?

95 days and counting…

So… yeah… mentioned running yesterday… and I’m still doing that craziness.  Yes. I know.  And I’m still not being chased by someone with an axe.  Although that might come in useful some days.  If you know anybody then please HMU… I may need to put some resumes on file for that position.  But anyway, miles keep progressing, and believe it or don’t I’ve actually run over 11 miles all at one time.  Yes, in one run, 11.8 miles, and nobody died, despite my dire predictions otherwise.

I know… what the what???

It’s challenging though, especially when my running partner is Stuart Smalley.  Him with the relentless cheerfulness and spring in his step.  Most of the time I want to kill him.  Dead.  Or mostly dead.  And then I’ll eat some Bacon, lots of Bacon.  And then I’ll revive him and kill him again.  And then I’ll finish the Bacon.  But I’ll kill him with kindness and love though… because I’m like that.

Cue chorus of “poor Bob”…

But yeah, I’m still at it.  And my first and second goals are now getting uncomfortably close.  You remember.  The two Half Marathons I signed us up for last Spring.  When I somehow talked myself into the crackpot idea that I am a Marathon Runner.

Yeah… again, what the WHAT???

Apparently delusions are a tricky thing, eh?  Anyway, yeah, I came to this crazy-assed decision months ago and ever since then I’ve been running.  Just like Forrest Gump.  Only slower.  Like possibly slower than a herd of Turtles running through 6 inch deep Peanut Butter, but still I run.

Like I’m mildly scared… not yet terrified… but occasionally I do burst into a short sprint that speaks of low level terror.  Not “OMG he’s got an Axe” terror, but getting close to that.  More like “OMG he’s wearing Axe Shower Gel and Body Spray and Shampoo… all of the Axe… run away!!!!!”  Yeah, like that.

You’re welcome… now enjoy that visual in Smellovision… great isn’t it?

But anyway, yes, I’ve been playing this running game for a while and I was doing fine with my delusions and then yesterday I saw this little gem of happiness when I was on Runkeeper

celebration-half-marathon

Yes… 67 days until my first test of these new mad skillz I’ve acquired.

YIKES!!!!

And to make matters worse, the next thing I saw was this

princess-half-marathon

And then I fainted.  Dead away.

Really?  Two months is all that’s left between me and those two twin monuments to craziness?  Until I have to actually put up or shut up about this whole “I’m a runner” thing?  I don’t think there’s enough time.  Not even if I had an entire year extra.  Maybe two.  But then I started remembering when I first started this craziness.  Back when less than a mile was more than I could do.  When most people could walk faster than I was running.  And then I realized that I’ll be fine.  No, I won’t set any land speed records.  But then, I’m reasonably sure that there are no Lions out on Lake Hollingsworth that will assist with my training.  But I do have that stupid voice in my head.  The one that says “you’ve got this”, and “don’t listen to your idiotic knee”, and “youcandoityoucandoityoucandoit”.  That one.  And yes, I can. And yes, I’ve gotten faster since I started.  And yes, I can go for much longer than I could when I started.

See?  This is from my very first Galloway Run – BTW my interval time back then -for those keeping score at home- was 20 seconds Running and 40 seconds Walking

first-run

And then, when I saw this, that’s when I knew that I’ve got this… because this was yesterday’s run

last-run

And again, for you scorekeepers, my current interval cycle is 1 minute Run / 1 minute Walk, and I’d already decided that this is the week that I’m going to start stepping that up to 2 min Run / 1 min Walk… starting with tomorrow morning’s training run.  So… yeah… I think I’ve got this.

So the moral here, all illustrations aside, is that if I can do this anybody can.  Really, anybody.  No, it’s not what I live for. Yes I still hate it just as much as I did the first time I laced up my shoes and started out the door.  But I’m doing it.  For me.  For my future.  Because I want my 50s to be better than my 40s.  And I want my 60s to f’in rock.

So I run.

I run for me.

Find something you can do and just do it.  Do it for you.  Because nobody else can.  Live your life.  Live it big.

Just do it.

 

Feeling your feelings…

I feel bad.

This lingering sickness… I hate it. I want to be well again. I want to feel better. I want… I want… I want. And yet I’m not there. I’m not able to do what I want. I’m being thwarted at every turn by my body that keeps feeling bad, feeling not up to par, feeling tired and run down, and feeling sick.

And yet.

I know I will get better. It will get better. I must. It must. But I feel off-kilter, out of balance, not myself. A shadow, a wraith, weak and not the same. Me, but not me. Trying to stand, feeling uncertain, a newborn colt on legs that do not yet have the strength to stand up. A rebirth of sorts.

A new day.

Because life goes on… it must. I’ll be better soon, I know. And then I’ll wonder why I ever wrote this. Why I ever focused on the bad and let it into my head.

Why?

For today I’m just staying with feeling bad. Feeling unwell. Out of sorts. Today I’m holding onto that. Giving me permission to feel bad. Because I can. Because I will.

Because I feel bad.

But just today. Tomorrow will be better. I know. Tomorrow will be okay.

Tomorrow.

Life is all about tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

One month…

It’s been one full month since I started changing our lives. One month of totally different eating. One month of totally different activity levels. One month of gradual progress. One month, and it’s working. Really, it is.

A month ago the dogs spent all of their time in the house, just as inactive as we were. Today we get up every morning and start the day with a Dog Walk at least 4 days a week. Also, to their eternal furry delight, we end at least 4 days with a Dog Walk as well. A month ago we could barely run 3 minutes of a 5k, despite having run two this Winter. Yesterday we both ran almost half of a 4 mile series. A month ago my new bike from last Fall was sitting in our garage with flat tires and had never even been ridden at all. Today I regularly ride that same bike 3 full laps around Lake Hollingsworth, at least once a week. A month ago I came home from a trip to Knoxville and discovered I had gained back 20 lbs. of the 35 that I lost in 2009/2010. Today I am 13 lbs. lighter than I was a month ag. It feels good. A month ago my running shoes that I bought 5 months ago were still nearly pristine and appeared mostly unworn. Today I am getting new running shoes for Mother’s Day… along with a Gym membership… and this is the best gift I can imagine getting from Hubs.

One month ago life was good, but not perfect. Today life is better, still not perfect, but getting easier. Today I think we can live like this for a long time. This new life is no longer a novelty. This is our life.

I like it. It works.

The last month is proof that you can change your life… if you try. One month ago we weren’t trying. Now we try every day. We don’t let “can’t” get in the way. Don’t let it get in your way either. You can do this too. You can make it better.

You’re the only one who can.

You. Can.

Evolving…

let-go  Okay, so after playing with the idea of straightening my life up in multiple ways, with the idea of living longer and better at the forefront of that concept, I finally made the leap and did it two weeks ago.  I’m writing more in depth over here if you’re interested but the upshot in 6,000,000 words or less is that I feel better, I see changes happening inside and out, and it’s worth it.

Yes, indeed it is.  I believe.

However, feeling better isn’t the whole point here with my life I’m afraid.  Now I’ve got to get my head in the game with everything else in my life that needs to be changed.  I’ve finally committed (at least mostly, since I’m very changeable) to following the careerpath I love – Social Media – with several resumes out there in that field now.  I only hope I can compete in that area alongside people far younger who seem to have the edge only because of that youth.  Likewise, after much debate and second-guessing, we’re really committed to staying put here in central Florida.  Our quality of life is so good and our circle is so big that we feel its worth it to try to make this work for us.  No, we’re not going to get rich quick here.  Not even get rich slow.  But we’ve got friends and family and connections that go pretty deep for us so we think it’s worth trying to make it work.

Oh and PS to Harry’s… don’t try so damned hard to change my mind… one place/incident does not an entire place make, which is seriously lucky for you because if it did then after Saturday I would either be picketing you or hiring a Moving Company.  PS I caught onto your personal prejudices there Ms. Manager, my LGBT friends did too.  One of us was unfortunately far too sober and straight for your shenanigans.  I’ll vote against you with my wallet, and my word of mouth.  You were warned then, I’m serious.

Bitch.  Oh, and F-U!  There, didn’t say that Saturday, but now I am.  With berries.

Yeah, so anyway, I’ll write more about that later, life evolves.  Backward is anywhere you go.  People want to be offended… from now on my mission is to help them out whenever I can.

Anyway, yeah, we are moving forward, slowly, grindingly, painfully, but still moving forward.  Just like the world around us.  Things will change.  We will change.  And we will change our world, just by staying in it.

Evolve or die… not just a saying, a reality.