July Was Not Kind to Me

I took a terrible fall out running at the end of July. Both arms were scraped, and my left rib cage and leg were criss-crossed with terrible scrapes. I knew the right side of my body was traumatized, but I never even recognized the unseen injuries that haunt me know. One and a half weeks after that spill, I came home from a relatively short run for me. Within an hour, I could not use my right leg. My leg buckled and locked. I couldn’t get off of the ground. I tried everything to relieve the pain and the impact of my right leg not working, but nothing I did fixed the problem. I tried massage, stretching, the Tens unit, ultrasound, arnica cream, and ice. In the course of seeing a doctor, chiropractor, and acupuncturist, I learned that the fall threw my pelvis out of alignment to the extent that my hips were out, my knee wasn’t tracking, and one leg remained airborne when I was on my stomach. The hidden injury is much worse than the visible injury. July was not kind.

As the fiery hot days raged on, my soul suffered. I have never had a problem with getting older until this year. In the past, I have anticipated and celebrated getting older only as an athlete would. Athletes look at age as a chance to hit another age group. This year, my birthday hit me. I am 54. I am retiring at 60. What am I going to do? I had once planned to build my dream house in Washington state and that at that house, Phil and I would welcome home our children and their children. We joked it was going to be our “Die House”. It was going to be the place where we grew old and died one day—one day far away. That one day, someday doesn’t seem so far away any more and the only thing I am confident in is that I will not be living in my “grow old and die” house in WA.

I realized that I have six years of work left. It hit me with a sucker punch. Is this all there is? What happens when I am not consumed by work and running? It is going to be really lonely. All of those trips and events I wanted to share are tempered and no longer appealing. I woke with a start to how empty my life is. I have no soft place to fall, no laugher, no human touch, and no one to share the joys or the setbacks with. How can it be that I am 54 and the best years are done? How can I enlarge my circle? How can I recreate that dream I had of sitting on a porch holding hands with an old man Phil as we chat in the early morning hours? How can I reclaim my hope and belief in the adventure that awaits?

July was not kind. It battered my physical body and bruised my heart. The oppressive heat of summer bore down relentless and pressing and left me aching for a simpler time, a time that I could see, and I time I never thought would end. The pain of July left me awake and aware that something needs to change. I need more than work and school.   I need to recreate my dream and I need a plan. Where to start? Today, the springboard is knowing that if nothing changes, my future will one day include Colorado. There is more to this equation, but for tonight it is a start. Like my healing injury, it is going to take time and trust that I control what will happen when that day finally comes. It is going to take a full commitment to every resource I have and it is going to take a belief in myself that I have the skills to figure this one out too.

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