My friend and mentor Num-Num (her internet nickname, not her real name) says that the key to success in life is seeing your luck when it comes. She believes that everyone has luck that comes into your life, but some people don’t see that it’s come so they ignore it, and others see it but don’t do anything with it.
Since the divorce, I’ve tried to be aware of my luck and grab it and hold onto it when it shows up. Getting admitted to the grad program I’m in is the most obvious example of luck that’s popped up and that I grabbed onto, and I’m thankful every day that I grabbed it. (OK, maybe not every day. Like the day I took a 3 1/2-hour Financial Management exam from the Orlando airport between a work meeting and a flight, with random kids pelting me with candy and some lady yammering on her phone right near my head about how her flight was late. That day I wasn’t so excited about it. But other days, yes.) It is amazing to me how much things fell into place when I followed that path, even though I had no idea how it could possibly work out when I started on the path.
It has become apparent to me over the last month or so that running is my luck, too. I assumed I’d stop after my son and I ran our 5Ks, but I haven’t. I kept running, and joined the rec center near me to be able to run on an inside track. I picked up after my bladder infection at Thanksgiving, even. I have no idea how or why, but it feels like I’m supposed to be running, and like if I don’t keep running, I’m going to miss out on something important for me.
This is very strange to me, because I’ve never thought of myself as an athletic person. I’ve been doing T-Tapp on and off for years, and credit that with pulling me out of a serious depression a few years ago (it works your core, which affects your hormones, which regulates mood). And I like Pilates. But I’m not someone who’s ever really felt like I was that competent with pushing my body to do uncomfortable things. So this feeling of loving the sweaty ponytail, and feeling good about a run, even if it’s not a long or fast run, is kind of crazy to me.
I gave myself a Christmas present of the book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. Murakami is one of my favorite authors, and when I found out that he’d written a memoir about being a long-distance runner I was eager to read it. He is, as always, thought-provoking. I was inspired by the fact that he didn’t start running until his mid-30s. And I loved his focus on just going out and doing it, running until he felt like he could still keep going but stopping there so he could pick up the next day still wanting to run, not exhausted.
The best thing I’ve taken from the book, though (and I’ve barely started–I’m only in the first couple of chapters) is his discussion of how he used to feel jealous because he gained weight if he didn’t watch what he ate and exercise, while his wife could lie around and eat whatever she wanted to and still stay thin. He came to see that his body had a built-in preventative system that told him he needed to keep moving. So having to exercise was actually a blessing because he wasn’t going to get to age 65 and just fall all to pieces because he hadn’t been taking care of himself.
That opened my mind and when I started looking around it became apparent. I feel young so I do young things and people think I’m young. The women I see who are 20 or 30 or 40 years older than I am that exercise are the ones who care about how they look and feel, and seem younger than they are. The ones who don’t keep moving have settled into middle age. I don’t want to settle, in 15 years or 30 years or 50 years. Keeping moving isn’t a burden, it’s a mandate. And it’s going to keep me young.
So now I am going to go put on my shoes and drive to the rec center and chase my luck around the track for a few miles.