I am at another cross-roads in life. I’m approaching it as I have never approached one before, kind of with a shrug and a sigh and a “whatever.” The China book was a project of a type I’d never undertaken before. That was a serious thing — a lot more serious than I’d expected when I set out reading through all those nostalgic blog posts.
I hiked up that sharp hill yesterday, thought of all the hours on the bike-to-nowhere and the fact that the interval has taught me that it’s OK to go slow. I don’t have to run up the hill. I can just go up the hill. At the bottom (beginning and end) is a set of railroad tie steps. No short-legged person could do those easily but as I ascended, I thought that one reason I once ran up steps like that was because the propulsion of running makes steps like that a little easier. Another challenge was stepping over fallen trees. The first few Lois helped me then I figured out I could do it myself with help from my trekking pole.
I thought of all the elderly hikers I used to run into (not literally) in the Laguna Mountains out in California. I always felt a combination of pity and respect for them. THEY couldn’t do what I was doing (running) but they WERE there and clearly enjoying it. There were moments on my hike yesterday when I just savored the silence, standing there, listening to nothing.
These are lessons from the past several years of pain and disability. I’ve changed. The lessons I’ve learned are good ones, but they didn’t belong to any of my earlier “selves.” I’m the elderly hiker now.