“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.” ~ Greg Anderson
This morning I got up at 5 a.m. (OK, I wasn’t quite awake until 5:15 a.m. when coffee hit my lips). But I got up, got dressed and ran 4 miles. Four very, very warm miles. 73 degrees, even that early. I showered and headed to Pilates, and I have to tell you, this new 7 a.m. class is helping me stick with my get-up-and-go-already running routine. Yeah, it’s only been two weeks, and it’s not every day. But two weeks of regular early-morning running–this is pretty impressive for me come summer.
Making exercise a priority this morning felt especially satisfying after a long weekend of camping up north with family and friends. I packed my running shoes, but didn’t end up wearing them except to avoid muddy feet around the camp fire the morning after a thunderstorm. We did a small hike with the kids, but spent much of the time playing in the outdoor pool (no, this trip wasn’t rustic camping), exploring the village of Indian River (who knew this is where the headquarters for Michigan Chillers books is located?) and eating. Lots of eating. And enjoying cold brew. It was great to be away, and you couldn’t ask for better weather. Even the thunderstorm was awesome since we were cozy inside a camper.
Still, there’s something about re-calibrating yourself after a few days of lounging. I’m also reminded, after enjoying (and kind of hating) the camp-style food we prepared — lots of grilled dishes for dinner, blueberry-and-banana-stuffed pancakes and bacon for breakfast, snacks, snacks, snacks — and staying up later than normal that I’m getting older. Driving home yesterday, Joe and I tried to find humor in the fact that our stomachs didn’t feel that great and that we were more tired than we’d like to be given we’d just experienced a long weekend “getaway.” We laughed just a little.
It gets me thinking about our health, about our family’s health — isn’t this what happens as we age? We care more about feeling great, about being able to do the things we want to do, rather than how we may look on the outside. Interestingly enough, I believe that once we’ve got our insides right (or as right as we can get them) — mentally and physically — we look just fantastic on the outside. All that calmness and peacefulness that comes with taking good care of yourself just comes out in people, it seems.
The older I am, and the more I do maintain a regular fitness regimen, I also seem to have a better understanding of my body — how it reacts to certain foods, the amount of sleep I get, the way mental stress can throw me emotionally for a loop. And also, ever so slowly sometimes it seems, I am gaining insight into the right ways to handle these moments of “what was I thinking eating that?” “And why did I again stay up so stinkin’ late?” Believe me, I am quite talented at doing the wrong things, thinking they’ll help me cope. Like berating myself instead of being gentle as I would to a friend; drinking too much coffee and not eating enough of breakfast when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before; or ruminating about what someone said or did instead of shrugging it off and not letting such things mess with my head (and health). Thankfully, I’m no longer making all the same mistakes over and over again. But I am human.
It’s a challenge, striving for and staying healthy mentally and physically. I imagine it’ll only continue to be this way as years go by and my body changes. I’ve heard so many people say that aging well is about keeping moving. This is what I hope to do–it’s what we all want, right? I know, though, that life has a way of throwing curve balls. So it’s savoring the very moment you’re in now. Taking advantage of today, when your body is able and strong, to go out and run. Or bike. Or swim. Or all three. It’s such a gift every time we’re able to do these things. I’m ever more reminded of this when I think of a dear friend from high school who has been in and out of the hospital this year because of health issues and lingering complications…and of the heartbreaking news of a Michigan high school boy who broke his spinal cord in a diving accident over the weekend. My heart is so heavy for him and his family.
Our health, it’s so important. I’m grateful for the time I have now to keep going after the very best version of myself, whether I’m running in the woods or hiking the trails with my kids, or cultivating a strong mind and gentle spirit with others.
How do you feel about your health? Are your mind and body where you want them to be?
How are you enjoying the journey today?