We are continually aligning or relating ourselves to those energies or actions which we perceive as being favourable or desirable. Our bodies take us to food, sex, rest, recreation. Our minds take us towards knowledge of all kinds. Our feelings attract us to the arts, to nature, even to spiritual pursuits. This is all natural and desirable….But is it not strange that we do not, at the same time, turn more frequently to the supreme energy, to the Self veiled within each of us, for the profundity of which we only have human words?
~ William Segal, Openings
No man knows how much he is an optimist, even when he calls himself a pessimist, because he has not really measured the depths of his debt to whatever created him and enabled him to call himself anything. At the back of our brains… [there is] a forgotten blaze or burst of astonishment at our own existence. The object of the artistic and spiritual life [is] to dig for this submerged sunrise of wonder; so that a man sitting in a chair might suddenly understand that he [is] actually alive, and be happy.
~ G. K. Chesterton
I haven’t yet gotten around to responding to the comments on my last post (hopefully that will be done before this post goes out) and although they are all wonderful and thoughtful, there was one that really stood out for me. Dawn wrote: “I think trying to be the age we are takes practice. After all, we’ve grown up with the concept that younger is better. Plus I don’t really know what 66 is. I still feel like maybe I’m thirty something.” My first thought in response was that our culture doesn’t encourage us to honor and learn from our elders what it is like to be 60, 70, 80, and beyond. That makes it difficult to know what any age is supposed to be. However, I have seen a number of interviews and videos of people who have lived to be 100+ who tell us that the secret of aging well is pretty simple. Love, purpose, community, and keep moving seem to be the basics. Diet and genetic makeup seem to play a small role. Maybe there is not much else they can tell us?
Later, I got to thinking about Dawn’s comment from another angle. If you ask a 6-year-old what it feels like to be 6 years old, they are going to look at you like you’re nuts. A shrug and “it feels like 6, Momo,” is the response I got. A 6-year-old is just busy being a 6-year-old. What does it matter what it feels like? It just is.
For the record, asking a 90-year-old will elicit a similar response in terms of a shrug, but the 90-year-old will tell you that they feel younger in mind if not in body. The body always has something to say about our age, doesn’t it? (The body has a lot to say about a lot of things, but we often don’t listen well.)
I think Dawn is right in many respects. We learn as we go along. We have to. Our experiences in life are so different and we all have our own ways of handling the experiences that life throws at us. Even if I someday figure out, for myself, the secret of aging gracefully, there is no reason to think it will work across the board for others. While it’s true we have some commonalities, we will always have our own paths to follow.
Still, I believe there are things we can learn from each other and from our elders. I believe we are all teachers and students, and those with open minds and spirits are likely to always be and/both.
I have started training for a half marathon. How crazy is that? Not as crazy as it might sound. I have no intention of running or walking a half marathon. Instead, my intention is to train for long walks. When I looked at walking schedules (including training to walk the Camino), I couldn’t find anything I really liked and that would fit where I’m at now (physically) and the goal of where I want to be. Then I came across a half marathon training schedule that feels like it fits my purpose. There are three days of walking, two days of cross training (which I’m using for strength training), and two days of rest. One of the weekly walks is a long walk and starts out with a “long” walk of 3 miles. 3 miles is perfectly doable for me and I can build from there.
Today I began week 2 of the training schedule, having met all of the goals for last week. Eventually I will have to veer from the schedule because what I am training for is a 7-10 day pilgrimage of sorts in the U.K. next summer. That means either no rest days or no more than one rest day. I want to be able to walk 6-12 miles/day. That’s a wide stretch of mileage. I will hone in eventually. I’m waiting to see what my body is capable of doing. M and I have talked about walking 6-8 miles/day on our walking trip, but we might find that we can manage more. Or we might find that we can’t manage it at all. I’m hoping that’s not the case.
We have had some lovely walking weather the past few days. Cool mornings, breezy and relatively cool days. It will be warming up again. Upper 70’s to low 80’s, so they say. I usually add about 5 degrees to whatever they forecast to get a more accurate picture of what the temperature will be like.
On my walk this morning I noticed that the Queen Anne’s Lace is beginning to bloom. So are the Red Clover and the Black-Eyed Susans. I listened to the birds chatter and sing, the wind moving through the trees of the Mystery Woods and the wheat fields, and the water lapping at the shore of the creek. Rabbits were everywhere on my way out to the road and I finally figured out where our resident deer are hanging out. As I suspected, they’re enjoying the wheat field next door. I saw at least five of them along the area where our woods meet the wheat field. I’m guessing the deer don’t have problems with gluten. Ha.
I’m not making any blogging commitments but what I’d like to do is try to post on my walking days (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday). At the very least, I can post a photo from my walk. It’s a form of accountability, a way of urging myself out the door. I’m going to need some sort of accountability when the weather decides to turn hot and humid, as it will do eventually. It wouldn’t be summer around here without the stickiness and heat. There will be some treadmill walks (for the incline/hills — we live in a flat land here on the Eastern Shore), but I would like for most of my walks to be outdoors in all types of weather.
I reckon that’s about it from me for now. Thank you so much for stopping by and joining me on another meander. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset. It’s scheduled for 8:29 PM. It should be rather nice out there. The temperature is mild and there’s enough of a breeze to keep the bugs from finding us.
Please be safe, be well, and just be.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 2,036) Early morning walks. 2,037) A lovely weekend with perfect weather for walking and being outside. 2,038) The miracle of being alive in this world. Yes, even in this world. It’s not all politics, pandemics, mass shootings, racism, and war. There are still good and loving people. There are still beauties to be found if you take the time to look. 2,039) The beauty of breathing, of inhaling deeply and exhaling completely. 2,040) Veriditas.