Wednesday, January 30, 2008

To Be Determined

There's a fine line between stubbornness and determination. Really, I think it's more a matter of whether you're annoying someone (stubbornness) or achieving a positive outcome (determination).

Three times a week I get myself over to the pool at the local YMCA. The exercise is a life line for me. It's one of the cruel ironies of my situation that relaxing, resting and taking it easy makes me feel physically worse. So, I push myself a bit.

The other day I was in the water and glanced over to see another pool "regular" come in. Now, I've always taken note of how people walk (it's the actor training, I guess), lately though, I'm fascinated by it. So, as I watched this lady stride across the room, a sprightly spring in her step, I suddenly remembered overhearing her tell somebody her age— 86.

Here was the 86 I had always envisioned for myself— a vibrant, energetic 86. At twice my age, this lady could easily run circles around me. Obviously now, I need to rethink my 86. In that moment, though, I was filled with a surge of new determination. I started pushing myself to work harder, faster, make the work-out more challenging. And I realized it's this fire-in-the-belly feeling I, somehow, need to tap into as often as possible.

I'm realistic. I know that all this activity won't repair a damaged spinal cord but it's something I can do and that counts for a lot these days.

Because, after all, I'm not ready to give up on my 86 just yet.

Next time: Stubbornness!


Anonymous said...

Reaching 86 sounds pretty cool, because no one in my family has ever reached that age. If we are lucky we generally peter out in our early 70's, full of medical problems, so that fact has also made me want to pack lots of living into the few years I have left. Of course, I have heard that one day people will be able to live to be 150 years old, but it will probably be inside of a weird medical tank, perhaps not unlike your pool!


Ladyaero said...

I love your differentiation of "Determined" vs "stubborn"...a subtle difference that comes up often in my family :-)

And a hoorah to you for deciding who you want to be at 86. I have a similar goal- I want to be my Grandpa when I grow up. When my Grandpa turned 90 he finally decided to see all the places he had never seen. So, in the last few years (he will be 93 in March) he has been to China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Mexico, Canada (to see the polar bears), Greenland, the Galapogos (I can't spell...don't know if that's right) Islands, Paris and Antarctica. He told me that some of those places he had wanted to see since he was 15...only took 75 years to get there. He also still swims laps every morning (when he had surgery on a blocked vein in his head and they told him he couldn't get the site wet, he walked his laps in the pool instead of swimming). I'm pretty sure he is in better shape than me right now...
Ladyaero (Emily)

shiloh said...

So how did you feel afterwards? Wiped out or invigorated?


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