Life is Not a Journey, Life is Now.

Guide Dog, Marra, hanging out with Tanya (Ice Staff and Friend) behind the counter.

Oh, my goodness its been a long time since I have blogged, but I did not abandon the project, just blogging about it. No time, mostly.

Let’s see. I took about 5 weeks off of skating in the summer to heal my shin splints. During that time, I did keep exercising and working on my ankle and knee/leg muscles.

Mostly what I did was Daily Burn 365. I kind of got addicted to it. I had done another program on Daily Burn called “True Beginner” which was prerecorded. Daily Burn 365 is a live show. Even though I rarely watch it live at 6am, I usually watch it a couple of hours later. So its almost live. You wouldn’t think the live aspect would be that big of deal, but it kind of is. The host and the fitness people are talking about current stuff and it corrosponds with people chatting live and on Facebook about things. People have babies, move into new houses, release books, change jobs, and you get to hear about it. There are weekly themes and guest speakers and its pretty much a community of sorts. Its kind of uplifting and has good messages.

In my past, I was pretty athletic. Not like, hugely talented or anything, but I could do almost anything exercisee-wise in say, two weeks time. So, if I started an aerobic class, the first two weeks might be kind of tiring and not full-out, but after that, there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do to keep up. Now, I am always doing modifications and taking a more low-impact route. It doesn’t seem to improve.

Skating has been the same way.

Its been rather frustrating. I know I’m older now, I know I have chronic illness that affects things like blood pressure, balance, and muscle tone. I know those are the realities. Its been really hard to know how much to push and how much to not push to get myself to maybe improve, but avoid injuries and keep my overall functioning high. I’ve not had these wonderful revelations where people say after like 30 days or so that they feel great and have extra energy and all of this wonderful benefits of exercising. The tipping point between doing just enough to feel good and doing too much and having a lot of debilitating pain or fatigue has been really hard to find. It still is.

So, something kind of helped me from Daily Burn. They talked about how it is not a journey. You know how everyone says its the journey, not a destination? That has always kind of bugged me, because where are you going if there is no destination or if we don’t care about it? And what is the destination? Death? That’s where we all end up, right? But one of the trainers on DB said, “Its not a journey. You are here already.” Like, if you show up to do an athletic thing you are already an athlete. If I skate today, I am a skater. No, I’m not saying I’m a great skater, but I’m a skater. I skate. Skating is happening today. That is what matters.

So, like, my list of skills has been just going nowhere. I’ve had so much pain and fatigue that I don’t even think about my list because all I am thinking about is “Ok, I got here. I’m here. I’m just going to skate and whatever.” This counts. I’m a skater. I skate. Skating is happening today.

I think it is important because I have seen through others how the laws of inertia affect their lives. I do not want to stop, even if going ahead is not showing any appreciable results. Going ahead is still doing, moving, participating, being in it. If I stop, it will be exponentially hard to pick up and go again. I’m a skater. I’m an athlete. I get my body to do some things, the best it can do today. I show up. Things are happening today.

The Hooky Club members are largely older than I am. I see a woman in her late 70s who had a knee replacement. She took 6 weeks or so off. After two weeks, she did not skate but she came and hung out with us. After six weeks, she skated. After  a couple of months, she went to an adult skating camp and just last week I saw her doing pattern dances. Another woman had shoulder surgery and has had a couple of hip and knee replacements. Her husband still skates but she does not. She still comes most days and talks to us and walks around the mall. I like these ladies, if they can show up, so can I.

At a point I looked at the woman who had the knee replacement and how well she is doing and I decided that something is wrong with me. I’m not sure what it is or if it can be fixed. Whatever it is, it does not mean I can’t be a skater and show up, but it deserves some investigation. I should not be having this much trouble, when…look at her!

On a whim, I decided to experiment with my skates. I wore my old Reidells to skate in. I have not worn them since April and I have been working diligently to get used to my new Edeas.

Guess what?

Yup, this is both good and bad news. I think I have figured out (at least one) of the problems. Except that my toes were scrunched up, the Reidells felt fantastic. I had hardly any pain (except for my smushed toes.) I had more endurance than I have had in months. I was faster, more daring, more confident, more comfortable, and took way less breaks. Hmmm.

Its not that the Edeas don’t fit right. The boot feels really good to slide your feet into. Its a difference in the height of the heal and the height of the boot. The heal is just about 1/2 inches higher and the boot is about 1/2 inch lower. This puts my foot and knee in a completely different position to skate on. I’ve been having serious shin and knee pain that did improve during my 5 week break but then started to return after, even though at that point I was only skating once a week. I don’t blame Jim, my skate fitter, because the skate itself fits great. Its just that I can’t skate like that. I think I need a lower heal and higher boot. More ankle support. I thought I would get used to it, but its been 4 months. I don’t know if I will.

So…what to do. Yes, its a lot of money. But it was such a big difference that its like, I feel like never wearing the Edeas again. I like the dance blade, and I can take that dance blade off and put it on my Reidells. I might be able to stretch the Reidells in the toes. I could look at getting new Reidells in the same exact model but with a bigger toe box. (Not gonna go that direction for a while, though. One pair of too expensive skates a year is quite enough. ) So, I’m going to go back to the skate experts and see what they can do. It sucks, but I took a risk with new skates that I could have not foreseen (I mean, 1/2 an inch? C’mon. How could it be such a big deal?) It might have been something that I could have adapted to when I was younger but can’t now. Because I’m a guide dog user and use my feet for tactile information so much, I rarely wear heals of any sort. I think I’m just not young enough to change. I think I can consign my boots and get a little money back for them, but I know it will be a loss. I like the Edeas, but am more happy that I may have found a solution to my ongoing skating issues.

It will be sad if I have to abandon my pretty Edea Overtures, but hopefully they will find a happy home.

But here is the funny thing. ..with the old skates, even though I had to recalibrate a bit and even though my toes were smushed, I wanted to get back to my list! I was like, back crossovers, 3-turns, MITF,  here I come! Feeling like I had some goals and could move forward. So, still not a journey, just more of an exploration of where to go next. Still a skater. I skate. Skating is happening.

So, I was skating ostensibly 2 times a week and doing DB 365 for 30 minutes and then another Daily Burn program like yoga or mobility for 30 minutes on my non skating days. But that was summer. School is in, convention season is here, work is happening, homeschool is happening.

That is the other bit of reality of this. I can’t do it all to the extent I want to do it. So, skating went down to one day a week. Boo hoo! Especially now that I might have solved a big issue. But I don’t get much done on those days and I can’t not get much done on 2 whole days a week. I also don’t have the luxury of an hour plus for exercis

e on most days, so I’ve cut back on DB and am trying to get 30 minutes in a day.

I’m getting in touch with a skate expert who will come to the rink and see about what can be done for my skates. That hasn’t been set up yet, but hopefully it will in the next couple of weeks. I decided not to participate in the Christmas show this time, as I’ve just had so many issues with pain and skating, but if I solve this thing and get back to my list, I think that maybe I could switch to doing Thursdays and taking the group lesson and then get back into that kind of stuff.

I think I have been confused a lot this summer about aging and health and how to manage it. All of this kind of got away from the anxiety thing, because it has caused a lot of additional anxiety in some ways. But I suppose these are good issues to work through. Showing up, whether its skating, DB or whatever, does help decrease anxiety. Bodies decline, some faster than others. We all have to come to terms with that. Aging happens. That is why this “life is a journey” stuff has felt so false to me. If it helps, others, great. But it bugged me. But if I think “life is today, and today I can skate, exercise, take a walk, read a book, help a client, write a letter to my senator, talk to a friend, all the other things my body can do,” then it makes so much more sense to me.

 

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