Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I Wish... A Different Tuesday Ten

In 2008 when I was 48 years old, I ran a quarter marathon race with a friend.  I actually ended up being a bit faster than her that day and she told me to run on.  As we were standing around post race, eating some cookies, I thought I heard my name off in the distance but sort of ignored it.  Then I heard it much louder and my friend was saying, "You won the Athena division, go get your prize!"  I was so stunned that I stumbled my way over to the podium and accepted the crappy prize - a visor with a sponsor's name on it. What is even funnier about this is that it was a fairly new race - this was only their second year - and they had not expected as many runners as showed up.While they promised each finisher a medal, I didn't get one and was told it would be mailed to me.  So I stumbled on home, still stunned that I had actually won that division. Not only that, I beat 8 other women, all of whom were in their twenties!  So I was an old Athena on top of everything else.

For those who don't know, Athena division is for females who weigh more than 150 lbs.  The issue with this division is there is no height requirement, therefore you could have a 6-foot woman running at 155 lbs. At that height and weight that woman would be quite thin.  Which to me doesn't even the running field as is intended (i.e., bigger people run slower), but whatever. I am 5'6" and I distinctly remember I weighed 157 - and was quite unhappy with that.  It was the one and only time I've gotten my weight below 160 since my thyroid diagnosis, and I didn't appreciate it, because it wasn't quite good enough in my mind.

I was thinking about this last Saturday afternoon. I was supposed to have run that same quarter marathon that morning, but as I mentioned before the circumstances and timing turned out to be off due to the death of my mother-in-law. At the end of the afternoon, I sat down and started looking at Facebook and saw that the results of the race had been posted.  I knew several people running to I went to see how they'd done, considering it had been raining and sleeting that morning. I really wanted to see how my 40-year-old friend who I was supposed to have run with had done, more specifically because she had registered as an Athena (she's one of the tall Athenas).  In the past, I have felt jealous of her running capability, to the point where at one time I stopped looking at her running posts because I needed so badly to stop comparing myself to her AND comparing my former running self. Based on how I know she runs I was pretty sure she'd snag a prize in that division. Turns out she came in fourth and it seems she ran a bit slower than normal - maybe it was slick from the sleet?  I haven't spoken with her yet so I'm not sure what happened.

In any case, I had this sort of lightbulb moment where I realized I've lived far too many years in a negative thought pattern - most everything about me personally is never quite good enough.  To the point where at 48 years old when I ran that race and won that division beating women half my age, I never really appreciated it or accepted that I was a pretty good runner.  Because I never thought I was fast enough, or thin enough truth be told.

I want to change that because I've also realized that at the age of 57, it's time to stop having regrets all the time.  My life is more than half over at this point and wouldn't it be nice to just live in acceptance of what is and feel joyful about where I am, how my body functions, and the fact that I still attempt running - no matter the pace!

This got me thinking about things I wish for, and things I wish I could tell other young women.  So, I wish...
  1. That I had enjoyed my daughter at each stage of her life more.  That I had slowed down and not been so stressed all the time, thus making me miss some important stages in her life.
  2. That I had cleaned my house less, and played more.
  3. That I'd been better with money and thought about retirement in my twenties.
  4. That I appreciated my former running self and enjoyed it more instead of always stressing and trying to be faster.
  5. That I appreciated the lean muscle mass and agility I had when I was younger.  I took it for granted and didn't nurture it.
  6. That I had started strength training when I was younger so that maybe I'd be stronger now - and more inclined to spend some time maintaining my strength.
  7. That I hadn't taken my metabolism for granted and that I had started eating healthier food consistently much earlier in life.
  8. That I had moved south and/or west when I had the chance.
  9. That I'd finished up college and chosen my profession, instead of just landing in the career field I've had and not enjoyed very much.
  10. That I'd followed more dreams and tried for fulfillment, instead of always feeling so responsible for everything that I always did what had to be done but never, ever looked towards what I really wanted.
If comparison is the thief of joy and it's never too late to be what you might have been, the deaths of my brother and my mother-in-law have driven the point home that now is the time to work with what's there so I stop living a life of always wishing and start living one of joy.

What do you wish?


  1. - I wish people would be nicer to each other.
    - I wish that I had been more realistic about having a career as a musician leaving high school.
    - I wish that I had learned about nutrition in high school and not spent so much of my life obese.
    - Like you, better with my money in my 20s.

    That said, I'm in a very good place right now and maybe all those things I wish were different made me the way I am now.

  2. I have a lot of the same wishes - looking back, I didn't appreciate so much of what I was capable of doing (like running faster) at the time. Yes, to more appreciation of my kids when they were little, yes to more appreciation of my thinner body that I thought was SO FAT, sigh.

    Yeah, there's a lot to regret, but like you said, it's not too late to start fully enjoying where we are now...for crying out loud, wouldn't it be awful to be 80 and look back at our fifties and think that we had it good but didn't realize it?

  3. What a great list, and a good reminder to be more appreciative of how good we have it right now, today.

  4. I love that you are willing to turn your gifts into positives, not negatives. I wish I was a better runner, and every time I read you and Shelley talk about it, I realize if I just applied myself, I could get better - I actually like running after the first five minutes when I want to stop every few seconds :D

    I too wish I had slowed down when Hannah was little. When Tony and I got together he sometimes monopolized my time, and I know Hannah wished she had me all to herself like I did the first 8 years of her life - but I think she turned out pretty good!

    I just had my taxes done and my accountant asked if I had started dating yet. Nope! Haven't given it a thought actually. But I know I can continue to try to have a happy life after Tony.


  5. I think mine can be summed up in one wish...I wish I had lost weight when I was in my teens/early 20's. my confidence would have been much better and it would have opened much different doors!!!

  6. I wish I had been more fearless and confident when I was younger. I would have taken more chances, explored more--but I think all the trials of my younger years led to the person I am today. No regrets!

  7. I don't wish anything. I've been in your shoes back in 2000 when my Dad died. That's when I came to the no regrets conclusion. It's never too late for that, so good for you!

    I did change one thing from your list a couple of months ago though and that's the cleaning thing. I used to clean my house every 2 weeks but since I don't like it, I thought why. I don't want to hire a cleaning lady, waste of money and so I decided to clean every 3 weeks because it's just the 2 of us and we are away on week days and our house doesn't get that dirty. And it works perfectly for me. Of course I vacuum the floor and clean the toilets every week. I am really happy I made that decision.