While waiting at a red light this morning on the morning drive to work there were two women in my line of sight. One was in her late twenties or early thirties dressed in running gear jogging down the sidewalk. The other was an older woman, perhaps seventies, painstakingly walking on the sidewalk opposite the jogger.
There was a confidence to the runner that was palpable. Her head was erect, shoulders back, stride long and a small self satisfied smile on her face as she ran past. It seemed obvious this was a frequent habit and she was running comfortably.
The older woman was leaning heavily on a cane. Her face was a bit pinched with the effort and you could see the toll walking was taking on her. Every few steps this woman had to stop not to catch her breathe but because the discomfort of walking would overwhelm her.
As is human, I related both women to myself and realized that my experience bridges these two people. For about twenty years I ran three to five days a week, was careful of my stride and posture while running and had self pride in my efforts.
Now, thanks to running on streets and not tracks, I have arthritis in my feet and have become a walker instead. As I age my gait is not as strong and when my feet hurt I’m sure my posture is not as precise.
So here I inhabit a space right in between these women. Many women of middle years inhabit this same space. The challenge is to progress from runner to frail with grace. To make sure we not only take infinite care of our bodies but also relieve ourselves of ego. This way when the time comes we can lean on our canes with joy that we are still walking.
In other words, we need to prepare to rock our canes.