Tuesday, November 1, 2011

on the eve of 44

The day of the dead, All Souls’ Day, is tomorrow. And tomorrow, I turn a whopping 44. When I was four years old, I thought that was the coolest thing ever. (It was exceeded only by turning five. Five! Five fingers! Five toes! Five!) When I was four, I was too little and/or dumb to realize that one day I’d turn forty-four – two fours! The best!

So here I am, on the eve of being The Best Possible Age! Of All Time! And I thought I’d improvise a little rumination on what I’ve learned over the past year.

1. Life is more fun when you tune in to who-you-really-are, instead of who-you-think-you-are-supposed-to-be.

And might I add, I am not the only one in my world singing that song these days. As my friend Leslie wrote in a beautiful essay recently, be who you are are. Be who you are. Be who you are.

This has its risks. Imagine doing this: go up to a complete stranger and offer to put your hands on their body to help them relax and connect with a source of spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical healing energy. Good Lord. You’re kidding, right? Wouldn’t it be more fun to ummm…floss? And yet, doing Reiki is one of those experiences where I feel like yeah, this is why I incarnated on this planet. It puts me in a zone where it’s all about love. And jeez, that’s all that really matters, at the end of the day, right? 

2. No, really, I do better when I spend some time outside every day.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. My formative moments as a teenager occurred while backpacking, and I majored in environmental history because I got turned on to the field by a guy whose basic premise was, “let’s start by looking at the land”. I was a Park Ranger for two summers in and after college. I blew off taking my whole first year after college seriously because I planned on hiking the northern half of the Appalachian Trail the following summer.

Well, somewhere along the way I think I kinda lost sight of all that. Too many desk jobs, too much of the 9-to-5. The importance of knowing where you live became an intellectual abstraction, instead of a lived experience. A few years ago, I was somewhat heavily involved in efforts to develop an eco-literate citizenry. These days, just writing that sentence hurt. The thought of even participating in, let alone organizing, such an effort now has about as much appeal as eating cat litter. Instead, let’s try this on for size: Go.   Outside.   Now.


3. Cameras aren’t an impediment to being in the moment. Sometimes, they help me get in the moment.

I never expected this one. (Thanks, sweetie!) Many gasps, and much cackling with glee, have been involved.


4. I want to be running when I’m 85 years old.


And why not? My grandmother on my mother’s side walked three miles daily on this very beach well into her 70’s. And once, I went for a run with my grandfather when he was 86 years old. His brain was riddled with Alzheimer’s but dammit, he was running.

I’ve had to keep this – the long-term goal – in mind over the past couple of months, because after my two half-marathons this year and a stupid project to do speed training on hills for the second one (oh, during a heat wave, too, by the way) I’m STILL dealing with problems – at this point, achilles tendonitis in the wake of a near-miss with plantar fasciitis. At this point, I don’t anticipate a run of even five miles for another several weeks. Ah, whatever. It’s all good. And how do I know that?


Because of the witch-hazel. It’s just flowering now, in the fall. See? You can flower any time, says the 44-year old runner.

Four bits o’ wisdom from this early, middle, and late bloomer. Time for sneaking into the birthday cake, perhaps? I’ll leave you with where things stand around here today:



  1. Very, very nice.

    And now,

    1. People born on the 2nd are the awesomest people on the planet.

    (says the girl born on April 2nd.)

    and 2. My goal is to be able to do a cartwheel when I'm 100.

    (nice legs by the way!)

    Happy 44th Eve!

  2. Well, I'm with that other Alison--totally want to be able to do a cartwheel at 100. Requires regular practice, you know. Happy birthday! Really enjoying your essays these days, and experiencing the New England weather (and North Carolina) weather vicariously (soooo much better than actually).

  3. It's Alison Day here at musingsfromdave! Howdy!

  4. Happy Birthday! I've got a longterm goal on the bike too. Hoping to hit 100,000 miles by 65. To longterm goals and short ones too. Hope this year brings you closer to your running goals for the year and many memorable walks outside.