January 1, 2013: I woke up this morning. No, let me take a step back. I woke up at midnight to a 15-minute volley of fireworks, with two cats holding on for dear life. But as the cacophony subsided, I slipped effortlessly back into the arms of Morpheus for my final few hours of the night.
I woke up this morning to a gloriously crisp blue sky outside. It was almost as if someone had pulled back the curtain of dark damp clouds that so dominated the last few weeks of 2012, to reveal the promise of a new year ahead.
There is something about the ending of an old year that makes us feel we can say goodbye to some of our failures and disappointments of the past and start afresh with new hopes and dreams for the future. And so it is with me as with so many others. Ideas for New Year’s resolutions have been stacking up in the back of my brain like cord-wood, because surely, New Year’s resolutions are the path to reaching those hopes and dreams. Right?
But I have learned from years past, that making resolutions is most certainly a recipe for disappointment. I just can’t stick to ‘em. This year I’m going to use the “Julie Babystep Checklist for Success” and hope that this year is as great as the last – and maybe a little more. Hey, I wrote this post didn’t I?
We didn’t spend much time in front of the TV when I grew up. Heck, in the early years, I remember craning our necks out the car window to check out which houses had an antenna on the roof because “THEY” had a TV. Yeah, and we could crane our necks out the car window because seat belts hadn’t been invented yet. When our family could finally afford a little black and white TV of our own (they were all black and white then), it required a constant combination of antenna jiggling, tin foil and a good whack on the top of the set to keep the picture from rolling or to keep away the picture snow.
At the same time, the world was our playground. We’d leave the house early in the day to run through the neighborhood and into the woods, playing with neighbor kids and not coming back until our stomachs started to growl. Bikes didn’t require locks or helmets. We just hopped on and pedaled off. We dropped them when we started to play and picked them up and pedaled back home when we were done. So who needed TV? Sure we wouldn’t miss the Lone Ranger or Sky King on Saturday morning. And my mom let us watch Superman only if we promised to call her in from the kitchen whenever he flew through the air – exciting times!
Zehra is a Turkish name meaning bright; shining; flower; blossom; beauty. And I’m guessing that when this feline was just a kitten, her owner might have thought that she had the potential to be just that. She was born from a feral tabby, …and as she grew into puberty, burdened with overactive pheromones, she took on the wild spirit of her mother to become our street’s tramp cat and the target of every tom in the hood. I guess that would be enough to put a mean streak into any one of us, and so it was with her.
After two separate sterilizations, Zehra now focuses all of her love on Duncan and aims much of her venom at the person she sees as her arch rival for his attentions – me. And me. Well, I’m a little bit afraid of her to tell you the truth. She’s a mean one. She can hiss, and she can swat. But I try. I feed her. And when I’m feeling brave, I even try to pet her. But she’ll have nothing to do with me – except…. Except when I’m sleeping. When Duncan rolls over in bed, he can knock the wind out of a cat – even one as big as Zehra. And I’m guessing that she’s no longer willing to put up with that, because now she’s decided to snug up with me in the middle of the night, forcing me right out of bed at times. No wonder I’m an insomniac!! So if you see bags under my eyes – it’s Zehra’s fault.
I look down at my hands, hands that have been around for sixty-two years and show it. Wrinkles abound and veins wriggle across the knuckles like a pack of snakes that are just waking up.
There was a time when I thought 62 years old was OLD!! Heck I thought 50 was ancient. And now, here I am. I’m not sure how it happened so fast, but it did. And yeah, my hands are wrinkled and my face is weathered (despite a small fortune on potions and creams), but I’m not feeling old at all. In fact, except for that darned clock that ticks a little louder every year, I’m probably in the prime of my life.
Sure, I’ve got my share of aches and pains that I didn’t have when I was younger. And my toes seem to be doing something lately, that I’m sure isn’t good. But my body is strong and I could probably beat my younger self in a triathlon right now if I had to.
And I live in the best possible time for an aging athlete. Sport opportunities abound for all ages. And at 62, one can still be considered a viable fitness instructor – which I am. In fact, today I just got an offer to teach yet another regular cycling class – bringing me up to 7 per week! Yee haw!
My goal is to share my journey over the next year with anyone who wants to listen – sprinkled with tips and commentaries on fitness, triathlon and aging. Stay tuned……