While traveling this past week, I picked up portions of an NPR radio program new to me, New Dimensions. Although I have not been able to locate the exact program online, bits and pieces of its insight have been running through my thoughts since hearing it. I’m piecing together the information as a montage, so please allow me to ramble.
The gist of the discussion was how we approach aging and the ultimate result of that aging. We in the 60+ group have an expanded opportunity for a “third age,” a time when we can continue to be productive, insightful, active. However, not all of us will have equivalent aging experiences and abilities. Not everyone will sustain energy levels with the same level of success.
This struck me. Occasionally when I am running, a person I pass on the street will comment “I wish I could do what you’re doing.” I haven’t said it, but at those moments I think very loudly “You can do what I do.” But, perhaps that is wrong.
That stranger on the street may be dealing with an injury, other life demands or simply a diminished energy level. Whatever the situation, it is that person’s life experience and physical ability they are dealing with as I am dealing with my own.
The past year has been one of setbacks and loss with a number of personal friends, running friends and otherwise. The same is true amongst the blogging community where some fellow writers are fighting physical battles to maintain their health.
The points raised in that radio program regarding aging matched my experiences and observations during the year. On a personal level, several of my major races last year were scratched due to injury. That experience gave me an opportunity to spend some time in reflection and to venture into alternative physical activities. I’ve come back from that injury and continue to work back to my previous level of running fitness. I realize the time will come when that comeback isn’t possible.
There are a couple of quotes I think of often. I don’t know their source but they have been with me for a long time. The first, “We are all temporarily able,” tells us our fall into disability is only a moment, a day, a year away. I’m appreciating my abilities while I have them and would hope I can learn to live with disabilities with grace when they come to my doorstep.
The second quote most runners have heard or have said: “The day will come when I can not run. Today is not that day.” Today was not that day for me. Hope- fully, it will not be the first day of the New Year when I plan to join running friends in the brisk January air.
A Happy New Year to you and may you greet your third age with gusto and good health.