Father of Three Seeks: Rhythm

September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Danny Thomas, Family, Urban Dweller

By: Danny Thomas

I have been trying to write this blog for three weeks…
About this idea of rhythm
And being out of time
About tapping into my circadian self
About re-finding my pace…
I have a lot of thoughts…
It’s hard to organize them.
I think partly because I am so
Arrhythmic…
This is troubling.
Part of what has got me in mind of
rhythmicality is this undertaking I have begun, getting fit…
running a few times a week…
I have also been thinking about what it means and how it feels to be
such a stereotype…
Approaching 40;
faced, in a painfully drastic way, with mortality;
trying to get fit;
writing about it.
I am more comfortable with being a stereotype at 39 than I was at 29, or 19…
But, what the hey, that fits the stereotype too, doesn’t it?

Today I hit the end of my 5th week of a fitness program… the first longer run…
Jumping from 5 minute running intervals to a 20 minute run…
I tried to do it outside, I have, prior to today, been running on a treadmill…
For various reasons, not the least of which is the lack of a jogging stroller…
I had no idea how to keep a decent pace without the treadmill.
It seems the virtual Mickey Goldmill has been of utmost importance for me.
The run killed me. I had no sense of pace. Raced for the first half of my run, and couldn’t make it the rest of the way, had to walk…

As I mentioned, I have had a sense of being adrift, of being out of time, but I don’t think I realized how out of touch with myself I am. For some reason this inability to find a decent maintainable pace seems to have philosophic significance for me, it seems to be important… I am realizing that I have never been great at pacing myself… that it hasn’t ever been that vital, or felt that essential…

But I have, for much of my time here on this planet, had a sense of rhythm…
And I’m not just talking about James Brown and Cole Porter…
(Although, I do have the funk!)

I am talking about the bigger rhythms…
I am talking about being sensitive to, and taking pleasure in, the patterns of The Universe.
I am talking about grooving on the harmonic layers of chaos and order that create the strange and magnificent upheaval of day to day life…
About rolling with the swing of the seasons, the weather, the wind, blowing apples from the tree, and the bees eating those apples, teeny tiny bites at a time…

I have known that I was out of shape,
And needed to get fit.
And I have known that something tripped me up
Over the course of my father’s illness and death.
But I haven’t been able to put words to it…
In fact, Jen asked me, at some point in the summer,
How I was dealing, because from where she sat I seemed pretty detached…
I was surprised… I had not felt detached…
I had felt like I was tuned in to my feelings and my family,
That I was open and sharing myself honestly…
But she clearly sensed a hitch in the get-a-long…
I now have words for what that is…
I am out of sync, out of rhythm…
Off my cycle…

Who knows if this was caused by my father’s death alone…
Maybe approaching middle age… Maybe it’s the shift from the west coast to the mid-west…
Maybe it’s the growing family…
Probably it is all of these things. And probably some things I can’t even sense or name.
I’ll tell you this tho, running feels good, and learning to find my pace seems like a good thing… and, even if I’ve never been much good at pacing myself before, it seems like the right time to learn.

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The Duality of Age

September 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Adoptive Families, Family, Meika Rouda

By Meika Rouda

I have been struck by the duality of age recently. On the one side, I am watching my kids get older, and with each day there is something new: an inch to grow, a new word to learn, a bike to ride. On the other side I see my parents aging: saggy skin, muscles that don’t work they way they used to, dying friends. They are on opposite sides of the spectrum, one side ascending and the other descending. Yet they both greet each new day with delight, happy to be here, to be alive.

My parents are 78 and in wonderful shape physically and mentally, but time has chiseled its imprint on their bodies and they are slower, less energetic.  They have ailments like chronic coughing and digestive problems. Nothing major but things that remind them they are approaching a later stage in life, where they have outlived many of their friends and other family members. I am grateful my parents are alive and they are not sick or struggling, that I get to see them often, that my children spend time with them and have gotten to know them. And yet it makes me sad to see them change, to know that maybe in the best case scenario there is only a good decade left before they leave us. To wonder what it will be like to not have parents anymore or worse perhaps, to lose the parent I know while they are still living. I am fearful of them having dementia and being captive in bodies that still work but minds that don’t.

I’m not ready for my parents to die. I have never known life without them. They are the people I call with good news and bad. The ones who I have leaned on many times in my life and have always comforted me, reassured me, supported me when I have needed it.

And now I am a parent and filling this role for my children. My children who too are aging and it is a joyful aging process, from babies to toddlers to kids.

I am in the middle, middle age, neither young nor old, bridging these two generations watching one decline and the other rise.

My dad has a saying that helps me keep it all in perspective. If you ask someone if they would like to live forever, most people would say yes. If you ask that same person if would they like to live forever but no new babies would be born, they all say no. If no new generations were to grace the earth in order for them to continue living, it would not be worth it. And that is what I see when I look at my children next to my parents. A full circle, a full life, another day to celebrate.

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