The Pendulum Effect

We have decided that when I fell out of bed eight weeks ago during the taper, I did not just hurt my little toe, I may have broken my little toe. My husband researched the symptoms: tender to the touch, fever, bruised, swollen….eight week recovery.

For six weeks I could only fit this little toe into three pair of shoes from my closet. This week I have added three more pair of shoes and my choice of dinner outfits has increased exponentially.

When I suggested a spring marathon my husband said, “First, you will have to fix that little toe.” That little toe has partners in crime.

The cramps that nearly crippled me during the marathon continued for four more weeks – maddening bolts of lightning that ripped through my abs, calves and feet. I am still at a loss regarding their cause. The pulled muscle in my calf healed completely in about five weeks and both ankles eventually became sore before they too subsided.

Meanwhile, I have enthusiastically pursued my new core strengthening exercises…. perhaps too enthusiastically. I think I have pulled a muscle in my hip. This is not a good way to begin marathon training, but it is not the injuries that worry me the most.

No matter which marathon training program I consider, both the 17- and 18- mile runs occur during the 9-day intensive back country rescue course in early March. And, whether I choose to run one, two or three 20-mile runs this semester, a 20-mile run occurs during the weekend I will be on a 3-day backpacking trip with the rest of my Land Based Activities class. I have repeatedly questioned why I wanted to complicate my life.

Last week I drove down to visit my Mom and Dad. My Mother has been sick for a while but my sister and I convinced her to let us take her for a pedicure – her first one ever. We were like three school girls laughing and telling stories. It was the sweetest moment in time.

Many years ago when my son was young, he and I drove down to visit my parents every six weeks. It was a simpler time in my life and I have such fond memories of those trips. But, I transferred to Chicago and the visit every six weeks ended.

On the drive home this week I thought about the analogy I frequently use – the pendulum effect. Life seems to be perfect for barely a moment when the pendulum is at its most vertical position, before it begins its next move to the far right or left. I think this can be seen in the climate, politics… life.

As I was longing for that simpler life, I noticed the imaginary hands of the clock. Suddenly I see that if the pendulum remains vertical, the clock stops.

Possibly each time the pendulum swings we explore new ideas, new routines….we expand our lives. During the swing back to center we net out the best of these new things and settle into a new perfect.

If not for the venture onto the far side, we would not grow….our clock, our progress would stand still.

The pendulum of my life is ready to move. I have enjoyed what has felt like a perfectly calm period. Maybe this new routine will feel chaotic at moments. Maybe I will not choose to continue some things while other things will become part of my new normal.

This semester I will take a glimpse of who I will become – a test drive so to speak for what one day may again seem like the most vertical, perfect position of life.

3 thoughts on “The Pendulum Effect

  1. Marcia, thanks – another good reflection. A quote that I picked up somewhere earlier this year (it might even been from one of your blogs) and have posted on my credenza wall is “the longer you wait for the future to arrive, the shorter the time yhat you can enjoy it”. It’s tough figuring out who/what we want to be when we grow up – especially for us 50 or 60’s someones. This time of the year is challenging as we view / review our goals and aspirations and, for me, my PMA’s (positive motivational affirmations). Good luck. See you on the other side (of the New Year) if not sooner.


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