Work It Out Wednesday…Christmas and the blessings(?!) of 40

I’m glad to be posting again after a hectic and terrific few weeks.  I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday with your families and friends.  We celebrated with our family and friends and also rang in my 40th birthday (yikes!).  There is so much to reflect on as I turn to 2013.

The past few weeks have encompassed all that is right and wrong with our world.  Evil and sickness collided with the very best of the human spirit and left me feeling shattered.  Like so many other parents, I hugged my boys tighter and opened my heart to pray for others.  I initiated a conversation with our 10-year old about Sandy Hook and school safety only to find that he was not so surprised, not really needing to talk about it–because it’s a fact of life he already accepts.  He feels safe and doesn’t want reassurance, yet he knows such evil exists in this world.  That almost made me feel worse.

The depths of pain and hurt ushered us into the week of Christmas and made me appreciate it more.  Nothing combats sadness like hope and love, and Christmas is full of these things.  Love for others, hope for the future and the chance to wake up in our own home for the first time in 4 years (after living in Switzerland for the past 3 years and being on the road every Christmas)–these things were just what my soul needed!

My birthday falls on the week after Christmas…always a strange time to celebrate it.  Not just me, but the entire world is measuring out a new year of life, perhaps reflecting and looking forward to making some changes.

In some ways I hate having a birthday during that week, because the news is filled with summaries of the past year and recollections of all the people who have passed.  It really has a way of emphasizing the negativity of what’s passed instead of the positives, particularly this year since I was exiting my thirties!

So these are my reflections on turning 40…it’s sort of painful.  Not just in the fine lines and creaky joints sort of way, but mentally for me.  I feel acutely aware of just how blessed I am and how much I love my life.  Forty feels like the most thrilling part of the roller coaster ride (forever the best description), and I want to pull the brake and freeze at the top.

My boys are 13 and 10, and I am loving these ages.  Though I miss the toddler years and little boys sitting on Mommy’s lap, I love our conversations and relationship at this age.  They are more who they will be, for lack of a better description, and I adore them.  We have great talks, watch more movies together and laugh together more at the same things in life.  They are a fantastic blend of both their parents’ spirits with an interesting mix of their own self, and I don’t want time to advance any further–this is far enough.  I’ve let enough go already!  My 10-year old still comes up behind me sometimes and curls my hair in his fingers…a gentle reminder of what is gone that I cherish.  I have to let it go, but I don’t want to take another step.

I feel just young enough to not feel old, but I don’t feel old yet.  Does that make any sense?  I can run, stretch, keep up with Oscar and still appreciate music :-)!

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I’m in love with my husband and with life.  My parents and in-laws are here and in good health.  I have my health for now, and I am grateful and blessed.  I don’t want to be the person I was at 20, or even 30.  I am so much more, well, me now.  The me I want to be, anyway.

So this is what 40 feels like for me.  A hyperawareness of the gifts in life.  An almost overwhelming sense of gratitude.  A tendency to look up at the sun during runs and close my eyes, just for a second, to pause and soak it in.  A slight sense of the tilt of the car as it crests the top of the hill and edges downhill at ever increasing speed (jiggling my muffin top with it!).

Chris surprised me with a trip to Napa Valley on the 26th to celebrate my birthday.  Here I am basking in the last days of being 39 on the SWA plane to Oakland…I curled my hair, put on full makeup and shirked my running pants!  Woohoo!

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We combined several of my favorite things during our trip…eating, drinking wine and sitting on our asses enjoying life.  I managed to be a good girl and got in a 7-mile run on our second day there (Handsome Hubby ran with me) to keep up with my training plan (I was supposed to run 9, but I was sweating wine and figured 7 was a good enough attempt).

He treated me well, but it’s not like he was hurting from the effort…

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Not a bad place to reflect on a younger self…

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Upon our return, HH surprised me with a dinner for family and close friends.  I didn’t get too many pictures, and I’m sort of glad about that, because the embarrassing poster my sister made doesn’t need to be seen (picture lots of old terrible photos).

TiffeeG made everyone sign my condolence book!

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I am happy to say that our favorite AS sufferer seemed to be holding up pretty well.  At the very least, she was able to fake it enough so that she looked normal to me.  She is on her way to a physical therapy for her neck right now and starts a new treatment next week, but the two cortisone shots in the back of her neck gave her some temporary relief during the holiday, which I am thankful for.

Me and TiffeeG…

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My condolence note from Max (I asked him to draw me a taco!)…

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My funny note from Alex…

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And finally, me and my men…how could I want life to advance from this moment?

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I blew out my candle and made a wish for better health for my sister and good health for all my family.

Back to running!  I’ve kept up with my runs through the Christmas holiday, through snow, icy streets, vacations and wine sluggishness.  Do you feel the dedication, folks?  I sure did when I hit the streets in 10-degree weather!

Christmas week runs (for the running fanatics like myself, all runs slow pace unless listed):

Christmas Eve: 4 miles, avg. 9:59

Christmas Day: 4 miles, avg. 9:38

Dec. 26th (pre-flight): 3 miles, avg. 9:51

Dec. 28th (Napa): 7 miles with HH, avg. 9:49

New Year’s Eve: 3 miles, avg. 10:14

New Year’s Day: 5 miles goal pace run, avg. 9:30

Total miles logged: 40.

And one amazing note…as of today, I have raised $1250 for the Spondylitis Association of America!  I can’t believe the support from people–I am absolutely thrilled, and I know my sister is too!  I appreciate the readers, the good wishes, and the contributions.  I hope this blog entertains and informs, and it feels so good to think I might be making a difference for AS sufferers.  Happy New Year to all of you, and as always, protect your health and happiness any way you can!

Finally, to end a much longer than anticipated post, the Work It Out song of the week is Home by Phillip Phillips.  Makes me think of family and my sister…perfect for a peaceful run.

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One thought on “Work It Out Wednesday…Christmas and the blessings(?!) of 40

  1. Love that picture of you and your men! And I love your song of the week. If only I could find some headphones that would stay in my ears, I could chime in a bit more on the songs that keep me going when I run (which is not often enough these days).

    Like

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