Running to Speculate

1 Apr

It’s been one heck of a week, maybe even two. My fiancé and I have found ourselves involved in family obligations, housework, wedding planning commitments among other things. The family obligations never stop and we aren’t complaining. Family comes first. Isn’t it amazing how our priorities change and how much growing up we do in our twenties? I mean I have been twenty-something for a while but wow, twenty-something right now is hitting me hard. And not because it’s an age thing.

I’m noticing that the older I get and yes I hear you exclaiming “twenty something and older” and trying to make sense of that sentence…but anyway, the older I get, I’m noticing this shift between my parents and I, even my grandparents and I. I know that as children, despite our age as twenty-somethings or fifty-somethings, we are our parents’ children and we are our grandparents’ grandchildren. Age plays no precedence within the familial infrastructure, only the role…we will always be titled children, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, etc. The roles adapt as we take on more titles, but we are always our parents’ child. End of story.

And that brings me to my point. There’s this shift between my parents and me being twenty-something. Suddenly I’m stricken with worry and anxiety about my parents. Granted I know they worry about me but it’s different nowadays. They know I’m in the best health of my life and they know I have an incredible man who is my rock and hopefully me, his. My parents are confident in my professional endeavors and see that Paul and I are trying to be financially savvy to better our future and prepare (as much as one can prepare) for children in a few years. My parents don’t worry too much about me. They are confident in my path. They know I make the right choices.

It’s not like I worry about my parents because they make the wrong choices. I worry about them as if I were the parent these days because they live and breathe in their business. They don’t turn work off and I sometimes think that could be toxic. They do indulge in some exotic vacations to get away, to tune out and disconnect in an effort to connect to what’s important, and that’s being with one another…But in order for them to do so, they work from sun up to sun up with no rest. That was intentional, sun up to sun up…they work 24/7, no kidding. There is no rest for the wicked! In order for them to go on vacation they bury themselves in work just to make certain when they return, the workload is somewhat manageable. Then it’s back to the grindstone for them. They are always working. I’ve never seen my parents work harder than this in their lives and I’m worried. I don’t want them to work themselves to death. I want them to enjoy the small moments rather than be distracted by the rigorous demands of owning their own business. I want to be able to communicate with my parents without having them have to make time for me, but that is how it is. And I’m proud of them and all they’ve accomplished but I don’t want them to miss out on what is going on around them. I want them to take a step back.

I’m seeing my parents age. Granted they are aging gracefully, they are aging. My parents are getting older and that’s the bottom line. It scares me. I have to face these facts and I don’t like it. I get so emotional. I’m getting older but that shouldn’t mean they are getting older. I’m a logical person but I can’t fathom this truth. I try to cope with the aging process of my parents and family members and it’s difficult. That’s why I turn to running sometimes. I try to cope with it. After all, aren’t we all supposed to be forever young?

Last week my parents informed me that my dad had to have a biopsy. They didn’t want to tell me and held off from telling me for a little over a week. I was outraged! They claimed they didn’t want me to worry or get too emotional. I understood their logic but was still miffed they didn’t share this news with me. I thought I handled it well when I spoke to my dad on the phone about the matter at hand. I was staying strong and supportive. We hung up with each other and suddenly the information started to process. It was just me alone with my thoughts as I was driving home from work and my eyes welted up in tears and I couldn’t stop crying. What was going to happen? I was thinking, this is my father, nothing can happen to him, he’s friggin invincible! I prayed, I prayed and I prayed. I had to go head out for a run. Running is my solitude, my church and where I pray (church, too).

In the middle of my run I began to think, what happens if it is cancer? Then I followed it up with what stage would it be, what would happen to my parents business, what would happen to my mom, has dad told his sisters? I couldn’t stop all my questions. I just kept running and running harder. I was desperate for answers and figured the harder I pushed myself the answers would come. With each stride I worked it out a little bit more. I had to hash out my emotions until I was numb. I kept telling the pavement, I can’t lose my dad. I was beating the pavement with my feet pleading for mercy, when the pavement probably wanted mercy from me.

I recall a song playing through my earbuds that reminded me of my dad and just put me over the top. I’m not talking a sentimental song; I’m talking about a Van Halen song that had me in tears all because Van Halen reminds me of my dad. I mean I was a mess. I was a sweaty, emotional, salty mess. There I was running while holding back tears. It was the first run in a while where I wasn’t running to train for a marathon, I wasn’t running for my physical and heart health; I was just running to manage my emotions and work them out. I couldn’t tell my parents how my heart sank to my feet with the news. I couldn’t let on that I was having a hard time with the news so I just ran… and I continued to run until I felt a little better which was very fleeting.

Finally Friday arrived and we were given great news. Dad will be okay! He needs to get checked every 6 months but he is going to be a-okay. Thank you, God!

But life is kind of a comedy and threw another matter at me. So I keep running. I keep running to face the adversity because I have faith in the Lord above and I have faith in my family and that all things will turn out as they should. Despite the hurt and my heavy, heavy heart, I believe it will all work out. I just need to keep running for my emotional health.

And last night as I was driving home from Easter events, Highway Don’t Care began playing and I just couldn’t help but to notice how much the song resonated with me. It may be a love song but it’s a song that made me think of my mom. And I love my mom. So I started to cry.

“Bet your window’s rolled down and your hair’s pulled back. I bet you have no idea you’re going way too fast. And you’re trying not to think about what went wrong. Trying not to stop til you get where you goin’…The highway won’t dry your tears. The highway don’t need you here. The highway don’t care if you’re coming home…Yeah, I bet you’re bending God’s ear talking about me…”

The song, as beautiful as it was in that moment intensified my emotions making me ache for a run. When I got home, I contemplated changing into my running attire to run my emotions away to guarantee a good night’s sleep. But I had taken pleasure in a glass or two of wine earlier in the day and decided it was best to lay low. I relished in the memories of Easter’s past with my family, days when we were all a little younger; days when I didn’t worry half as much about my parents and it helped revitalize my mood.

But here I am today, recollecting on the past week or two, thinking about what went right, what went wrong, and how much love I have for everyone despite differences, because life is precious and each day is a gift.

I thank the Lord for the strength to get through the thick of things and his faith in me. I thank the Lord for giving me the gift of running.

…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…

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