Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Things That Get Away From You

May 2010? Can that be right? Because it feels like time hasn't really passed at all, yet a full five months and a bit have disappeared since I last posted anything to this silly little blog. That is not to say, however, that I've spent those months whiling time away on the couch watching reality television and eating Cheetos, as much as I occasionally want to do exactly that. Especially the Cheetos, preferably in a convenient feedbag strapped to my face. But, no.

2010 has, so far, been far more physically active than the preceding four or five years. I feel better than I have in some time, having continued to work on my overall health since August alongside the good Mr. Handy. We both have come to the growing realization at 41 that time does, indeed, get away from you if you turn your attention away for even a moment. We're nowhere near the cliff's edge of "too little, too late," but I feel like I occasionally glimpse it off there in the pale and hazy distance. That's...strange. Disconcerting, certainly, to really grasp that things, like my life on this planet, are going to end, and within a time frame that I can understand because I've already lived it. Middle age is where the immortality of youth fails. When you're 15, how can you contemplate living another 70 or 80 years? You only know what 15 years feels like, and a few of those you can't even remember. I suspect that's why so many young people at some point think they'll die by the time they're 30. How could they possibly be expected to imagine living longer than a time span that, to them, equals existence, everything?

I, on the other hand, know exactly what 40+ years feels like, and I can expect to get about that many more (plus a few extra decades if I'm lucky). That puts me right in the middle holding this knowledge of halves in my hands, along with the knowledge that I get to decide what to do with it. That's been an interesting bit of yarn to untangle in the last year, but all of this heavy realizing and thinking and accepting responsibility...well, it's also exhilarating, if truth be told. If this is the time that I have, I wonder what I could do with it? How mindfully can I live these years? I do like the idea of a challenge.

So, if this is the start of the second act of my life, then, by gum, I'm at least going into it as fit as I can possibly be. In addition to getting more active in general, I'm in the sixth week of the Couch to 5K running plan doing something that I spent four decades swearing I simply could not, would not do--run. In my case, we'll be charitable and call it jogging, but still, I am doing a running-like motion and, here's the crazy part, enjoying it. Given the fact that I'm built like an arthritic dairy cow rather than a sprightly gazelle, the idea that I would run anywhere for any reason, let alone personal choice, is nothing short of shocking. But run I can and run I do. Once I stopped saying I couldn't, lookee there. I could. And now crazy, vague whisperings like "5K" and "10K" and "do another triathlon" and "get back into yoga because those hamstrings are pathetic" are running through my brain. I missed you these past few years, Crazy Vague Voice. Nice to hear you again.

I've also been spending time on the garden, slogging through ignorance and figuring out how to get something to grow here. Did you know that plants need (non-sulfurous) water? Not only were our boxes acidic, which we repaired through soil amendments and turning off the well water, but I also believe I was not watering our previous plants anywhere near enough. I bought into the advice from the Square Foot Gardening book that their planting methods would lessen the amount of watering needed, but in Florida that has proven to be less than accurate. I planted only two of the boxes this season as experiments because we were losing so much on failures, but both are doing well so far. An unusually cold winter has also resulted in our having blueberries for the first time. They're starting to ripen now but, more importantly, the plants are looking much more healthy. That watering thing, again, I suppose. Next up is to redo the landscaping in the front yard with plants that don't need watering, unlike the straggly grass we have now. I don't mind spending water (a lot of it rainwater) on edibles, but on useless grass? In an overdeveloped and drought-prone area, that seems quite wrongheaded. I hope we can get it done before it's too hot to plant anything and see it live. If not, we'll continue to have the ugly yard on the block until it cools off six months from now.

Many other little tidbits going on, including getting out and about more and meeting people. Apparently, being more social involves leaving the house once in a while and conversing with actual humans. They don't come to you, you see. We've met with some great people on a pretty regular basis and, frankly, it's been fun, even for this avowed nonsocial homebody. The family recipe book is getting at least a small update by the end of the year, although I'm considering going electronic with it rather than print. If you have an opinion on the matter or anything to add, do please send it along when you get a moment. Channel your Inner Julia and share the kitchen love! My book reading is up significantly, although a pile of magazines still mocks me. I'm coming for you, Smithsonian and Mental Floss, so keep on with your sassy little smirking. And I'm about to commandeer, er, borrow the keyboard Jared got for Christmas to relearn some piano, in addition to teaching myself conversational Spanish via podcasts. It is nothing short of mind-boggling to consider the free education and information now available to anyone on the web. The hardest part is deciding what to learn!

We live in amazing times. They won't get away from me.

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