Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No Running Regrets

My oldest son and his fiancĂ© are both runners. I love running with either or both of them. It’s a great time to share a healthy activity while also talking and enjoying each other’s company. I’ve always thought it would be great to also be able to run with my daughters. My oldest daughter is old enough to run with me and, while we’ve done a few three mile races together, she usually runs ahead rather than staying behind at my slower pace. Now, my middle daughter is old enough to run; as we drove to our vacation spot last week, she asked me if she could run with me – what a treat! We ran four days last week – twice for 3+ miles, once for 2+ miles and finally 5.7 miles. As we were running the morning of the longest run I told her that it had taken a lot to get me off the couch that day – a quiet morning with a book and my coffee…hard to pass up. However, I reminded myself of a quote I like that goes something like this: You will rarely regret going out for a run, but you will often regret skipping one. With that quote in mind, I got up off the couch, woke up my daughter and prepared for my run. As we were running, I told my daughter about having to repeat the quote to get myself off the couch; she started to laugh and admitted that she, too, had had to use that quote to get herself up out of bed when I woke her.

If I hadn’t gone for the run that morning, skipping the run itself would have been the least of what I’d have regretted missing.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

He She We

I’ve been reminded lately that it’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. I came home from Korea to learn of the impending divorce of a friend of mine – this makes five divorcing friends since the first of the year and, frankly, I’ve felt so saddened and conflicted that I haven’t felt able to write. I think I just need to write about this and get it off the top of my mind so that I can move on and write about other events and ideas that are also rambling around in my brain.

Five couples, five divorces in just seven months – not good news! I’ve realized that I look at a marriage as a combination of the “he”, “she” and “we”. There are two people – the “he” and “she”*, each of whom have their own separate identities and then there’s the couple – the “we”, that is, in many ways, an entity of its own. As I’ve learned about the divorces of the five couples, I’ve found that I grieve the loss of the “we”. Even though I may stay friends with one or both of the individuals, the “we” of the two together is no longer there. Even though this “we” is intangible, it feels like a tangible loss.

When we learn of the death of a person who is our age, it feels kind of creepy – “That could have been me.” Perhaps the news of so many divorces is upsetting in a similar way because I realize that, just as life is fragile – it can be taken away at any time by accident or illness, the “we” in a marriage is also fragile – it, too, can be lost, leaving just the “he” and the “she”*. I exercise, eat well, drive safely and look before I cross the street in order to minimize the chance of accident or illness in my life. Similarly, I think the way to process the news of so many divorces is to do what I can to bolster my own personal “we”, something I think I do well naturally; it’s just that right now I really feel the need to cuddle up, wrap us in a cocoon and do some serious “we” building.

*or the “he” and “he” or the “she” and “she”