Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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With each passing year, I get more hopeful about some things, yet less hopeful about others.
For instance, I'm less hopeful that my skin will ever look like it did when I was younger.
And what of my hearing? I'm not there yet, but the fact that I'm relieved when a movie has subtitles tells me something. So, the hearing gets thrown into the less-hopeful-it'll-get-better pile.
But … I'm more hopeful about some other things—and they're important things. For one, I'm feeling better and better about my wisdom and my ability to zoom in on a situation and dissect it to the point of clarity. I'm more hopeful about my relationships; that they're firmly rooted and secure because by this time, it's likely we've all come to realize that more so-called friends does not necessarily equal better friends and we're better at reading and really knowing people, after all.
And I'm hopeful about my physical health—that by doing the best I can do with eating right and getting plenty of exercise, I can be the best 60-year-old I can be.
And here's my latest hope—that became a reality:
I completed a half-marathon. Yes, I did!
Lots of people said, "Oh, I had no idea you were doing that!" There was a reason for that. In my deepest heart and soul (and muscles, tendons, ligaments, knees and various other things that creak), I didn't think I'd be able to do it. So, rather than announce it and then suffer embarrassment or self-proclaimed defeat, I chose to keep it rather … quiet.
The idea to do a marathon actually came from my husband, Alan, who wanted to honor the fifth anniversary of his hip replacement surgery. Of course, he thought he'd never be able to run again, but his sheer will rendered that incorrect.
So, we trained. And trained. I'm usually not a true, down and dirty goal-setter; more of the type who knows what she wants but lets default mode get her there, more or less. But a marathon is serious stuff, and without the proper training you're opening yourself up to injury, dropping out or worse.
About one week before the marathon, I did my longest training yet: ten miles on the treadmill. (Note to self: never train in the wintertime). Boring, yes, but I kept telling myself that I could do it. Rather than say, “Ugh, I've only gone five miles and have to do five more, I said, “Five miles down; just five to go!" (I guess I have an inner perky cheerleader in me, after all.)
In New Orleans, on the morning of the event, I shivered from the 40-plus temps, but was buoyed by the energy and warmed by the support of the crowds. I dressed in layers so that I could shed some pieces along the route (people typically do this during marathons, and the discarded clothing is picked up and donated to homeless shelters. Pretty nice, huh?).
Looking around, I was quite gratified and excited that rather than standing on the sidelines (as I'd done many times, watching son Jonathan complete full marathons), I was actually one of the participants.
There is nothing like being a part of something to inspire and energize you. My greatest thrill was being "that" person—the one for whom other people cheered. Only giving birth can rival the gratification I felt as I crossed the finish line, hand-in-hand with Mr. Artificial Hip.
So, if you think something is unattainable, think again.
Set your sights on that goal. Do all you can to ensure that you get there: Educate yourself about what it will take. Practice. Dedicate your mind and body to it. Stay focused and determined. Believe in yourself, while being realistic and practical.
Don't think it's impossible and shrug it off. Instead, think that it can be a reality, with some hard work and perseverance.
Then, get out there and DO IT. I'm rooting for you.
This post originally appeared on mysocalledmidlife.net.