This week has been filled with things that just make me so, so appreciative of all that I have and that I am able to place one foot in front of the other and RUN.
I had a conversation with a wise, remarkable 90 (!) year old woman this week. She has been confined to a nursing home for going on 10 years. Her days are filled with reading magazines, watching tv and bingo. She admits it’s not where she envisioned herself spending her ending days. But she remains filled with joy. She told me “Ya know, I didn’t always used to be an old bag like I am now, stuck in this place. But there is no sense brooding over things that happened in my past. I thank the good lord for a roof and that I still have my noodle.” So wise.
I also had a conversation with an 18 year old boy who has so many disabilities they are too numerous to list. Suffice it to say he is stuck in a wheelchair and he communicates with by blinking his eyes. The conversation was one sided, in terms of talking. But two-sided in terms of joy and understanding. I was helping him get his parents in place as his guardian and he was filled with joy about it (which I knew by his eye blinks in response to certain questions).
I also read a fabulous, inspirational book this week: Until I Say Goodbye by Susan Spencer-Wendel. Its the true story of a 45 year old woman who is diagnosed with ALS and instead of spending her last days being pissed off that she was unfortunate enough to get this awful disease, she spends her last days making special memories for and with her kids, her husband and her family. So so powerful. I highly recommend it. Geek that I am, I took notes on my iphone during the book of quotes that inspired me.
The absolute best quote from Susan Spencer-Wendel’s book was “Don’t force the world to be the one you dream. The reality is better.” Her context in writing this was describing these vacations and events that she had planned with her kids during her last year of living before ALS totally hijacked all her bodily functioning. She had a vision, a dream, about how each vacation would go – so perfect, so ideal. And the reality in some of them was far from perfect – traveling to antartica to see the northern lights, but the norther lights being a no-show; seasickness on a cruise; etc. But the reality of these events – the reality of life – is better because it made lasting memories, stories to tell, made each trip uniquely hers.
This quote made me think so much about my upcoming trip to Boston this week. I have – literally – been dreaming about the Boston Marathon for SIX years. I started training for my first marathon in 2008, with a goal/dream of qualifying for – and running – the Boston Marathon. Although I qualified in 2010, the way life (the BAA standards and the race filing up so crazy fast) worked out, I didn’t get in and won’t be able to run it til now, 2013. Over the years, each time I ran a marathon that I didn’t qualify or requalify, or when the race closed before my entry was accepted, I was bummed. My dreams of the Boston Marathon were dashed. But as I sit here now and reflect on things, I realize that reality is perfect. I am going to Boston this week to run the marathon and taking with me my parents – who have been my two biggest marathon supporters since I started this crazy journey 6 years ago – and Scott – who in the last 10 months has become my biggest fan – loving me and supporting me in ways I never imagined were possible. How different would the Boston Marathon experience been for me if I had qualified and gone in 2009, when I was just starting out with running, when I hadn’t worked my ass off for this, when I didn’t have support at home for me and the things that were important to me?
I still have a vision – dreams – about how I want my first Boston Marathon experience to be. I want uncomplicated travel. Perfect weather. An unlimited shopping budget at the expo. Good times with running friends and family. No GI issues. I want to soak up every single minute – every single step – of the marathon feeling relaxed and happy. And I want to cross the finish line with a smile on my face. I know I can’t force my 5 days in Boston to be like my dreams. But I KNOW, without question, that no matter what reality the days bring, they will be perfect for me. They will be my perfect reality and I will always remember my first Boston Marathon. SO crazy excited!