Making More Memories
Two years ago, I wrote the very first post for the Comfortably Uncomfortable blog. It is by far the piece I am most proud of. It was about my eldest sister, Lyn.
Last year, at the same time, I tried to match the feeling I had when writing and publishing that first post. I failed. I started, stopped, scratched, and restarted at least seven times. Eventually, my pride got the best of me and I gave up. I was grinding for nearly a month on one single blog post.
It took so very long because my goal was to publish a re-cap of the previous year; a recap of the amazing job I had done of “living life to its fullest” by spending time with loved ones, going on fantastic trips, and scrubbing my life of BS.
Yeah. That didn’t happen.
I tried to spin it, but the truth is, I sort of felt like I had failed my sister’s memory. Yes, yes, I recognize the holes here, but all of my attempts made me feel like I hadn’t accomplished a thing.
Fast forward yet another year. Have I made progress? Eh. I’m still a terrible communicator who self-sabotages most attempts at quality sleep. I’m more emotional than ever (in a bad way) and following through on goals has been poor at best.
But guess what, people? That’s life! Some days are worth remembering and others are like, “How the hell did I get here?” Hopefully the scale weighs more heavily in the positive category for you.
Although I don’t always have the will to snap myself out of a funk, I somewhat begrudgingly own that my state of mind is up to me. I have the power to unlock a little more (insert positive thing of your choice) in my life. I suppose admitting you have the power is the first step. So that’s progress!
Below you’ll find the original post from 2016 that I am so proud of. I hope it inspires you to do something that brings you joy. Just a teeny step, but a step in the right direction. Reach out to an old friend, go get some fresh air, schedule a date night, spend a day in your pajamas, have a dance party in your living room. But, for God’s sake, don’t just sit there.
Yesterday marks the anniversary of my sister’s death.
The sixteenth of October has passed 16 times before. Some years are easier than others; some years cause more emotion and reflection. Lyn was just one month shy of her 30th birthday. It was her second bout with cancer, first time with leukemia; the first was in 1996 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease.
Lyn was 12 years my senior, and definitely the “cool sister”. Sorry, Aly, you were always the responsible, yet fun, “second mom”. One of my most cherished childhood memories is of Lyn driving me to a friend’s house. She always took the fun backroads in our parents’ Ramcharger - and insisted on driving just fast enough so my little 6-year old body would lift off the passenger seat as we crested the numerous hills and bumps. She was all about having fun with her little sis.
Staying active was a mainstay of Lyn’s adult life. Her boyfriend, John (they later married), introduced her to running in the early 90s. Lyn and John introduced me to running when I was just 11 years old. I remember running my first 5K with John. I suited up in some sweet new Saucony Jazzes…real running shoes! You can imagine how defeated I felt when a kid wearing cowboy boots passed me in the last mile. I crossed the finish line in tears, and was hooked. 24 years and over a hundred races later, running is still one of my most favorite escapes.
I am writing about Lyn on the CU blog because she is the reason - or at least catalyst - why I made fitness my love and career. Seeing how Lyn and John balanced a lifestyle that included long (and late) work schedules, college courses as "non-traditional students", fun times, and exercise showed me that you don’t have to be the stereotypical fitness fanatic to benefit from setting and reaching goals. Heading to the gym or squeezing in a couple of miles were great stress reliefs for the couple. Even in Lyn’s final weeks, with little energy for the most basic of daily activities, she appreciated both the physical therapists who manipulated her joints, and her husband who encouraged her to walk just a few steps each day. Even for the ailing, movement does so much good for your state of mind.
So today, as I sit nursing a broken foot, and reflect on my sister and family, I think about the phrase that John has been known to command countless times over the past 17 years - on my wedding day, family vacations, and while spreading my sister’s ashes: “It’s all about making memories.”
Over the past 20 years, many of my favorite memories revolve around breaking a sweat, or involve friends made through sports. VineMan 140.6, Ragnar Del Sol, Blue Ridge Adventure Race, high school and college cross country and track, snowboarding in the Alps, Valentine’s ski trips with my husband, shooting with my dad, long dog walks with Mom, riding with new friends in NM, running up on a black bear in Asheville, getting tanked with the Tri Club in Taos, riding to Old Faithful on my last day of a summer job in West Yellowstone, and recently, hiking with G in tow in his fancy new pack.
The past 10 months have been filled with many new memories…most of them, admittedly, forgotten in the 6 months of perpetual fugue state that I experienced until G slept through the night. Prior to having G, my workout was such an integral part of each day. Every morning, I would know when or how I was going to fit in my workout: between which clients or how many minutes I could milk to make the most of “me-time”. It was automatic. Not working out really wasn’t an option, unless my training plan required it. Regardless, my focus shifted from work work work, workout workout workout, to baby baby baby. And until my body tells me it is ready to work towards it’s previous level of fitness, I am not pushing it. I have had my fair share of speed bumps since delivering G, and I openly accept that this is not my time to set unrealistic goals.
My sister knew that getting sick was not her time. Although she was not a mother, she assumed a maternal role and focused all her energies on making sure family and friends were happy and living their own lives instead of worrying about her. I was living overseas while Lyn was going through chemo and she put on such a good face that I would have to call my other sister, Aly, to get a real handle on the situation. But that’s what we do. Sometimes we switch gears and focus on our loved ones.
Thinking about my sister today reminds me that yes, doting on my infant son is important, but making memories with friends, with family, and doing the things that I really love, are nearly equally important. And although I face another speed bump with a broken foot, I will do what I can to make memories with the people I love, doing the things we love.
Now go make some memories of your own.