Aging up…need some birthday love!
May 1st or as it is often referred to as “May Day” has come and gone. The beginning of May represents the arrival of spring in Vermont and bids farewell to the last of the season’s snowfall. The magic of snow falling has never been lost on me and I truly love a hearty Nor’easter. Vermont’s seasonal changes never disappoint as its beauty is both extraordinary and inspirational. As the landscape fills with signs of new life ….everything seems to be waking up!
Time passes with extraordinary speed and makes no apology for doing so. As a child I was never eager to grow up as I found such joy playing outdoors with my big brother, Bob, and a great group of neighborhood kids. Played a ton of sandlot sports…football, baseball, basketball. Bareback horseback riding through fields and trails, swimming for endless hours, bike riding to a friend’s house and the local general store for candy. Bob and I spent many summer days building forts in our back field’s apple trees. We were very industrious, resourceful and used repurposed wood from chicken coops destroyed in a hurricane in the 30’s. I have always been a smaller person but possessed a fair amount of energy and gumption while not shying away from many challenges. Growing up, with the exception of a couple of close girlfriends, our neighborhood was primarily populated by boys. I would tag along with my big brother because I wanted to play and saw no reason why I couldn’t. Bob was pretty patient with me and only once in a while would he insist that I return home which I would sadly oblige. As I watched him head down the road to our neighbors I would wait until I heard the sounds of the ballgame filling the neighborhood air. Not age, not size nor being female ever entered into my mind as a prohibitive reason why I could not be a valuable team member. Sandlot sports or pick-up games are so much fun but can be fairly rough and intense. Protective gear was scarce but naturally as young children we didn’t really concern ourselves about that! One of my very favorite memories is receiving a very special gift from my parents which not only made a big impression but shaped me forever. I especially remember my father’s words to me “if you are going to play football you will need to wear this!” He handed me a brand new shiny white and red football helmet! His message was not to tell me NOT to play football with the neighborhood boys but he simply gave me a tool to keep me safer during the games. I clearly remember the sparkle in his eyes, the smile on his face but most importantly his lesson to me about equality. From that point on I knew I would never think twice about competing against males…no reason not to!
Often on a Sunday summer evening my brother and I would play baseball on my parents’ front lawn with a few neighborhood friends. Always racing against time, resisting the knowledge that we soon would be called into the house as baths were on the evening schedule after a long day of playing outside. Just before the sun would finally set on the day and our baseball game my mom would join us on the front lawn and pick up the bat to take her turn at the plate. I can vividly remember the sound of the crack of the bat as she sent the baseball clearly and cleanly into our next door neighbor’s yard. Mum may not have participated often but she sure made an impression…a woman of substance and not afraid of much!
I often find that I notice the time on the clock as it displays 5:12. This fact may not be of much import to you but it represents for me, a very special day on the calendar as I was born on May 12th. This upcoming Saturday will formally mark the big day. Yes, it is a VERY big day! Turning the page to a new decade can bring many feelings to the forefront of both heart and mind. As those decades seemingly have flown by the anticipation and excitement of the new decade seems to have waned. I have been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting over the past number of weeks while trying to come to grips with the number I am hopefully going to turn this May 12th…I take nothing for granted!
Running has always been an integral part of my life and hopefully will continue to be just that! In the competitive road and trail racing world awards are given to the overall winners, masters etc but also to Age Group (AG) division winners awarding three deep. AG divisions are broken down by decades, some races will split them down even further into two groups representing 5 years segments. Loathe the events that recognize by the decade till age fifty and then give the three awards to the 50 plus AG!!!!! Come on!!!! Very diminishing not to have each and every AG represented as no one should underestimate the dedication and effort it takes to run! I have decided to stop struggling with the mental impact of my new age but instead simplify and identify to the running world’s acknowledgement of “aging up!” I am simply joining my new age group competitors, looking forward to seeing them on the road, and hopefully on the podium! No, I can’t run like I once did but I can still run…
My father always said “mentally he felt like he was in his twenties but the mirror deceived him every morning.” May we all keep our youthful thoughts, playfulness and our abundant riches of kindness, thoughtfulness and respect for one another! Always nourish that free spirit. I seem to be painting a lot more abstracts recently. Hmmm, wonder what that might mean?