We had our first blizzard on Sunday morning. I was in Maine at my parents' home on the coast. We came up to celebrate an early Christmas with my parents and my four sibs, and my sibs' families.
It wasn't gigantic as blizzards go. We had only a little under a foot of snow dumped on us. But it was still a blizzard, with raging winds, whipping snow and negative digit temps with the wind chill.
I had a 9 mile run on my schedule.
I don't need to explain to most of you why I felt the need to do it despite the raging snowstorm.
2009 is drawing to a close.
For me, this is a good thing. I've been in a blizzard for nearly all of 2009.
I created the blizzard, of course. I looked 40 straight in the eye and created a storm so large in scale that it nearly took out those closest to me. Actually, it nearly took me out, too.
Yesterday as I ran into the wind the snow blinded me and burnt my face. I couldn't take the pain, so I turned around and ran loops in a sheltered neighborhood cove. At mile 7, though, I had to face the wind and get back to the house. There was no other way to get there but directly through the storm. I left my little cove and was immediately blasted by a wind much stronger than the one I had started in. Oops. Guess the storm had gain some strength in the hour I chose to stay somewhat sheltered. This was going to hurt.
My folks live on the ocean, and those of you who grew up by the sea know that the closer you get to it, the angrier the wind gets. As I got closer and closer to the house, my cheeks hurt so much from the slap of the snow that I kept having to turn around to gain composure. With about 1/4 mile to go, I began to cry. Why was I doing this to myself? Why hadn't I realized that if I got myself out there, into the storm, it would be nearly impossible to find the strength to get back again? I wanted to give up, but you can't give up when the wind and snow are seriously threatening to build a grave for you.
I finally made it up the long driveway. The snow was whipping across the ground and up into little cyclones that burst and sprayed. The ocean was pissed--steely gray and crashing on the rocks. I stumbled to the door, but it was locked. I rang the doorbell desperately, over and over again, and banged on the door, not caring how childish my impatience might appear to be. Jordan came to the door and struggled with the lock. I continued to bang and whimpered please, please! Then Odessa, my brother Jordan's wife, came to the door and got it open, and I pushed my way rudely inside.
In retrospect, the run doesn't seem so bad. I handled it. I ended up fine. Despite the white patches on my cheeks, I didn't actually have frostbite.
And more importantly, after a year of battling that kind of wind and snow, I'm okay with turning 40. And the life I turned upside down is damaged, but still intact--somehow. Miraculously.
FYI, no matter how big a tantrum you throw, you can't get youth back. I've had my first kiss, covered my gorgeous sixteen-year old body in shame, applied to college and left my home. I've traveled with my best friend across the country, run my first 5K, my first marathon, my first IM. My puppies have lived their lives from beginning to end in front of me. I've lost one to cancer and will soon lose another to old age. I've found the man I am spending my life with, I've gotten pregnant on purpose and by accident, I have had my children, and I'm watching them grow. I've gotten my degrees. I've worked hard and I've become jaded and blown off work. I have a home with more than one bathroom and pictures on my walls of the life I've lived.
I did those things and I can't do those things again. Not really. Trying to doesn't work. As I said, the storm I created trying to get back youth that isn't mine to have simply doesn't work. I regret that a lot of my youth was wasted on my youth.
After running all year in a blizzard, after crying and flipping the bird to the snow and wind, I think I get it.
Just because I didn't appreciate it, doesn't mean I can get it back to do again. And maybe, amazingly enough, I don't even want to. My first kiss wasn't that great anyway. All tongue and slop on a Tuesday night with Jeopardy on in the background.
I plan to relish my middle-age. I will not be wasting it.