The Bright Side of Limitations
I’ve never liked accepting my own limitations. I always thought limitations were something to break out of. To free yourself from. Like the slogan of some Planet Fitness rip off:
Your Limitations are NOT Accepted Here.
Join Today for $45 a Month!
Usually I have to have my limitations thrust upon me. Which is exactly what is happening now.
I live in a third floor walk up. At first I loved it- no one above us making noise- my balcony looked out over the tree tops. It was $12 a month cheaper than something on the first floor.
Win win win.
Now these steps are my nemesis. Knocking the wind out of me three to five times a day. When I finish them I sound like I’ve run a marathon. Or like I’m rehearsing the opening scene of Barefoot in the Park.
(Neil Simon reference.
They’re out of breath as the walk up the stairs…
Basically I’m having to ration how many times I can walk up the stairs. Talk about a limitation thrust in my face. Nine months ago I was taking long runs, lifting weights. Four months ago I was doing hot yoga classes and sweating my balls off. I used to bound up those three flights of stairs. Literally bound. Two, three steps at a time. For no reason. I wasn’t in a hurry- just because I could. Now I have to make plans for them. Ration the trips I have to take because getting down is easy, but getting up is not. I believe a big part of healing is listening to and respecting my body, and this is where my body is at right now. It won’t be there forever. It hopefully won’t be there that much longer. But for now, this is what it is.
So yesterday evening, as I finished my Greek Salad, I realized there were two things I wanted to do, each requiring a different trip up the stairs. I had to walk my dog, and I had to take my walk in the park.
I love my walks in the park. It’s this tiny little place near my apartment. It might not seem like much, but doing a couple of turns around that .6 mile loop makes me feel like I’ve taken an active role in healing my body for the day. It’s as much a mental lift as it is a physical one.
Yet my dog also needed to be taken outside. And as he began to look at me more and more longingly, I realized it needed to happen sooner rather than later.
That’s when the light bulb went off above my head.
No. It isn’t crazy. I could do both at the same time!
(Cut to me, fist in the air, freeze frame ending.)
I looked down at Andy, asked him if he wanted to go outside. That led to him darting to the door and jumping like a dolphin. Little did he know the adventure we had in store.
We got downstairs, I opened the door to my car. “Don’t fuck with me,” was the look on Andy’s face. I assured him I wasn’t, and he hopped inside, zero clue as to where we were going.
I rolled the windows down and turned on the AC. He panted and slobbered and looked out the window, desperately assessing the situation.
The park is less than a mile from my house. When Andy jumped out, he knew he was in paradise. He sniffed. He peed. He sniffed some more. He did that zig zag walk thing he does when he wants to experience everything there is to experience all at the same time. He’s not young. He’s 14. I’m glad he still has his zest for life. We walked past the tennis courts, we walked down the hill, we walked up slight incline that cuts through the woods. I coughed and I spit but it wasn’t too bad. We strolled past the little league baseball game, past the concession stand. Andy didn’t try to steal any snacks from off the counter like he does when he is at home, so I thanked him for being on his best behavior. We walked past the second baseball field. A girls softball team was having their practice. One of the players chugged an ice cold Gatorade and wiped her mouth with the back of her arm. I knew that feeling. That is a great feeling.
God there was a lot of life on this .6 mile loop.
We walked by the playgrounds. We passed the cook out areas, and made it back to the car. I had wanted to do another lap but Andy was tired. To be honest, so was I. My instinct is to push myself. To go and go and go. But right now one lap is what I have. And this is my summer of healing which means listening to my body. The problem is I don’t like to listen. Which is why I was glad Andy was there to help me hear.
We got back in the car and I rolled the windows down. Andy sat in the front seat and smiled ear to ear all the way home.