“Mommy, Brandon’s getting me wet!”
I look at my daughter with disbelieving eyes. “B-b-b-but you’re in the pool,” I stammer. Then I look at my son and half-heartedly reprimand him, “don’t get your sister wet.”
I think his 4-year-old eyes are mocking me.
I wanted nothing more than to go back inside to the way-too-cold discomfort of the air conditioned living room and relax, but when you become a mom your needs are sometimes secondary to the wants of your kids. Especially in summer, when they want to not get wet in the wading pool.
I was never an athletic person. Or an outdoor person, for that matter. People who knew me in high school were flabbergasted to find that I’d joined the Army. I was the girl who’d turned getting out of gym class into an art form. In fact, I was so bad at PE that a couple of my high school phys ed teachers actually asked my mother to ask me to drop their classes. Seriously.
Then I had kids and gained weight. Then I had Thyroid Cancer and gained more weight. Then I woke up one day and needed to do something. I didn’t know what, I just knew I needed to challenge myself. So I signed up to run a 5K, which I ended up walking and not running. Long story short, I temporarily lost my vision in one eye and running was near impossible for me.
I hadn’t really run a day in my life, except for those half-hearted attempts in high school that helped me squeak through class with a “C” because the teachers liked me. And the forced Army runs because, well, Army. I’d been a non-running civilian for almost 4 years by then. I used to say: “Even if someone was trying to kill me, I’d only walk really, really fast.”
Skip ahead a few years and the desire to run hit me again. This time, I signed up for a C25K program with the city parks and recreation division and, lo and behold, a runner was born. There were no freak blindnesses to contend with, no sprained ankles, no achy knees… Just me, my headphones, and the pavement.
Best feeling ever.
Over the years, my daughters have joined me on various run/walks but running/walking/slogging continues to be a thing that I enjoy doing just for myself. And, honestly, by myself. I like running with a group but I also like the solo aspect. When I put on my headphones, I tune out the world. I listen to praise music and, for that 30 minutes or so, I’m focused on my stride and mentally singing praises to God.
Yes, I still struggle with my weight. Yeah, sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to get out there. And, no, I don’t always run the entire route but I’m out there and I’m taking care of me.
Physical activity, no matter what it is, is key to making it as an empty nester. Think about it, this is the time for you to go out and explore the world, you know, see the things you want to see. How fun is that if you get winded trying to enjoy it? Not very.
Are you physically active? What do you do to stay healthy?