We usually think of it as a bad thing; the end of a romance, a good book, a great concert, or fun vacation. Sometimes, even though they can be emotionally laden, endings can be positive. They can provide long awaited closure to the loose ends in life. They can be the end of stressful events, situations or unresolved dilemmas in life. Endings aren’t always a bad thing.
This has been a year of transitions or, more accurately, conclusions, for me. Endings. Finales. Mostly, life just goes on from one phase to the next, from one event, day or season to the next, without much fanfare. This year, I’ve noticed an unusual amount of endings to things that have been going on in my life, some of them for years. Things I’ve been working on cleaning up and moving off my plate are going away and, with them, the accompanying stress. I find it interesting that while 2012 has been an absolutely disappointing year, at least I can say that a great deal of the stressful chapters in my life are closing.
Since May of last year, I have been working on resolving the situation with my home which has become an overwhelming financial and physical burden for me. The tax break was nice, the hedge against inflation nice, the stress not so nice. Also, the fact that it gave me a negative net worth wasn’t exactly cheery either. I am pleased to note, that this chapter should be concluded by the end of July. That takes a huge amount of stress off my plate. I can’t say I’m disappointed. This signifies closure on one of the most unhappy and nightmarish periods of my life. For many reasons, I’m eager to say goodbye to this home and all it symbolizes.
My second oldest child is graduating from high school this year. We are in the midst of all the last minute preparations to close yet another chapter in our lives. For both of us it is an ending and a beginning of new things; new ways of being with each other as she adjusts to the demands and responsibilities of adulthood. While, she is not necessarily going far away to go to college, her role as a college student and theatre major will mean that she is, for the most part, not around. She will be making more of her own decisions and this reality ends my role in her life as it has been until now.
Another school year is winding down. This is always a bittersweet experience and this year it is even more so. It’s been a bumpy year. While it couldn’t be helped, I do wish it could have been different. I can’t change it now. 11 more days and this school year is a wrap.
For the last seven years, I’ve been driving around an older SUV. I believe the life of this vehicle is nearing an end. When I look at the cost of insurance for my 18-year-old who drives it now, combined with the cost of gas, I am certain that my days of driving any SUV around are nearly over. In fact, this brings me to recognize a fun new beginning in my life: that of transitioning from the car as my primary mode of transportation to the bicycle.
It took me almost the entire year to figure out a routine and how to make the 2.95 mile commute to work feasible, but for the last month, I’ve successfully commuted by bike to work, then to radiation treatments, then out for some riding time, then back home most days of the week. This has been wonderful for so many reasons. Obviously, the savings in gas costs is significant. It also means that I am able to get a 20+ mile ride done at least 5 days a week. I no longer have to worry about fitting a ride in after school or dinner or before it gets dark. I’m looking forward to the day when I can say goodbye to the old SUV for good, replace it with a more fuel efficient economy car then drive only when absolutely necessary. This chapter of car insurance hikes, exorbitant gas prices and spendy car repairs is one chapter I can’t turn the concluding page on fast enough.
The best news this week? Monday, I went in for my radiation treatment thinking I had 11 treatments left. I was informed that I have only five treatments left and, if I double up on one day, I will be finished with treatments on Friday. So now, at the time of this writing, I have only two treatments left. My short, little journey with cancer diagnosis and treatment is ending. I’m going to miss the techs, the bike commute across town, and the great routine I had worked out, but I can’t wait for my skin to heal, my energy to return and summer to finally and officially arrive.
Some goodbyes are just good.
Shift happens. For some it happens sooner, rather than later. For me, now that I’m nearing that dreaded half-century birthday, shift is happening now. It’s been over a month since I’ve done any real riding. I just stepped on the scale and I haven’t gained any weight. Not gaining weight is most likely due to returning to work where I am on my feet nearly all day and also to moving into a beautiful spacious town-home, which means stairs…often…daily; at least when I am home. The lack of riding has been due to simultaneously moving and heading back-to-school (as the teacher, not as a student). The additional complications of figuring out new routes and daily routines ate up most of the ride time early in the month and the last ten days, stress, poor diet, and lack of riding got to me. I did that which I rarely do; I got sick the first time a child sneezed in my direction.
So, fortunately, I’ve not gained pounds, but things are beginning to shift. It’s not a good look. You know it’s a problem when the way you see yourself in your minds eye resembles a bad Jabba The Hut graphic, and your clothes don’t fit.
So, as soon as I’m able again (yes, I’m writing this from my sickbed) I plan to schedule in my rides. I plan to make a date with myself every day after school to get at least an hour of riding in. I’m noting it here as a commitment to myself and my own health. I’m happier and less stressed when I can roll out each day.
Sadly, when I get on my bike, I tend to be a bit of an addict; wanting to go further, and then just a little bit further, and then just one more mile. Next thing I know, three hours can slip by and I’ve covered 30 miles. This is not unlike the alcoholic who keeps telling herself, “I’ll quit after one more drink,” and yet they never do. In both cases, this is not a healthy approach. For me and cycling, it is unhealthy because I get myself into the mode of thinking I need to be on my bike for long periods of time. So, I pass up opportunities to ride, when shorter time frames are all that is available. This relegates me to riding only on weekends. Riding only on weekends does not improve my fitness level. The whole situation really boils down to me making excuses.
I need to stop it.
Sometimes, being sick slows you down and gives you forced time to think and get perspective.