Not So Zen

I knew the day would come when I would not be able to run anymore.  I was a long distance runner for forty years.  It was my go to for handling stress.  Bad day at work?  I went for a run.  Argument with my boyfriend, husband, mother, shopkeeper?  Go for a run.  A new promotion and barely able to contain my excitement?  Go for a run.  Newly engaged?  run; Newly divorced? run;  A couple of years ago I had to have surgery on my left foot and I can’t run anymore.  The knees, the hips and the feet complain.  So the day has come and I’m a mature woman now.  I can deal with life’s little ups and downs without literally running around. Right?

We are coming up on a year into the pandemic and I really want to go for a long run.  The last twelve months have brought, out of control wildfires, a coup attempt and the very real risk of losing our democracy.  I retired six months ago and Tom, my husband, retired four months ago.  We like each other and somehow, our portfolio has continued to grow during this turbulent time in history.  So it doesn’t all suck, but I continue to have some anxiety which I thought would be 100% relieved once the new administration came into office.

Things I have done during the last year to keep my spirits up.  I bought eyeshadow.  I wore eyeshadow as a young woman but rarely wear it anymore as an “adult”.  I had to use  a magnifying glass in addition to my reading glasses to read the back of the color palette before I could apply it.  I bought some new perfume from Avon.  Don’t laugh, Avon has good perfumes and they’re affordable.  Tom came through the living room the other day and looked at his perfumed well made up wife reading on the couch with her dog, her dog who smells literally like a seal, and just gave me a startled look.  “What?”  I asked.  “Oh nothing, nothing,” he responded, giving me a backward glance as he passed through the living room. 

Now, I walk a lot.  Tom and I walk 8 miles three days a week and then I walk at least 4 on the other days.  Walking is a “safe” way to socialize during the pandemic.

I’m in a writing group with some very talented writers and this has been wonderful and awful at the same time.  It’s harder work than I realized and even when I’m not writing anything of substance it seems to be a slightly soul wrenching exercise.

I’d like to go see the grandkids in New Jersey.  I’d like to have coffee with Julie and P.  I’d like to josh around with Julie’s boys and go backpacking with Frances.  I’d like to take a trip to celebrate retirement with my husband.

I’ve taken up playing tennis again.  This has literally been hit or miss, no pun intended.  Fewer courts are available than I remember from when I played so many decades ago and my game is quite rusty.

I took a tennis lesson last week and it was really great.  Bam! Bam! Bam! I was hitting balls and the young instructor was responding with a guttural “Yes!” each time I hit the ball correctly.   I’m 59 years old and I really thought that I would have developed a more zen approach to anxiety than literally running around and or hitting things by now…

So it’s all good, all good really.  The coup didn’t materialize.  I have money in the bank.  A vaccine for the covid 19 has been developed, and in less than a year!  And it is being administered.  But still.  

The hammertoe on my right foot is starting to bother me.   I went to Kaiser on Monday to get my second shingles shot and have the right foot x-rayed.  As I’m leaving the building a man, about 45, white, is giving two young nurses, one Black, one Mexican,  both darling, a hard time for taking his temperature and asking him the standard questions they must ask before letting him into the building.  He’s laughing and saying, ‘fine, yes, I’m fine, how are you?” in a snarky way.  He’s bullying them.  “Oh, ok, sure” he responds as they ask him, “Sir?  could you please pull your mask up over your nose?”  I’m watching this dickhead as I leave the building and I’m thinking.  I should just stop and give him a good kick up the butt.  I’m wearing cowboy boots, I have strong legs but I can’t remember which foot is my good foot for keeping balanced.

I knew the day would come and I really thought I would be more mature by now, that I wouldn’t feel compelled to run around and hit things when I’m under stress or feeling free floating anxiety.  That’s what I thought.  But, I’m not.

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