Considering that my sister routinely (and accurately, I might add) described my body as marshmallowesque when we were children, you probably wouldn’t think of me as being very athletic. Well, I have to tell you, you’re right to make that kind of judgement because I’m not. There was a time, though, when I was in my thirties, I bought a pair of Nike’s and decided I was going to be the next Flo Jo. My dreams were quickly shattered when I started the Couch to 5K program and realized I needed something a little less advanced. Yes, I was so athletically challenged I needed something less advanced than a couch potato’s running schedule.
It took me a damn month to be able to run one measly non-stop mile, but I did it, and I slowly and awkwardly built from there. Eventually I got to a place where I was running up to three miles at a time and I was feeling pretty pleased with my damn self and wanted to set a goal. A friend told me that once I was able to run three miles at a time then a marathon was possible. Thankfully, my Flo Jo delusion had tempered at this point. The realization that I was just a pudgy housewife with an iPod had completely set in. I wisely chose 13.1 miles over 26.2.
When you are a former marshmallow there is a gargantuan gap between 3 and 13 miles. It takes a fair amount of dedication to make the leap. If only I had been as dedicated to running as I was to watching reality TV while shoveling handfuls of Cheetos in my gob, maybe I would have actually run that half marathon. Alas, Cheetos won out. Seriously, how could they not? They are so damn tasty.
I didn’t think much about the half marathon I never ran as time went on. I was still running a few days a week and feeling pretty good. So, hell, what if I didn’t run a half marathon? Big effing deal, right? Then, my hip started hurting a little bit. Yeah, that hip. I stopped running for awhile and found the lump a few months later. The rest is desmoid tumor history. Obviously, at that point, I became even less concerned with running a half marathon and all my attention went toward the ever growing lump in my hip. That half marathon dream was a distant memory.
So, you can imagine how surprised I was when, almost immediately upon waking from my surgery, it was one of the first things that popped into my head. I’m never going to be able to run that half marathon. It’s too late. I should have tried harder. After that thought came a waterfall of regret. In my mind ran all the things I didn’t do when my body was whole and I had the chance. It’s what I imagine is going to be the closest I will ever come to deathbed clarity without the actual death part.
In the days following my surgery I was content to be able to take a few meager steps with my walker. From there, I was giddy to graduate to a cane. Once I had the drain removed from my leg, I was thrilled to start physical therapy. For those of you who’ve never had physical therapy, I assure you there is nothing thrilling about PT. It’s grueling and painful and something sadomasochists do in their spare time, but I knew at the end of it I’d be walking on my own and I was happy to have it.
In the span of a few months my new normal had shot from being able to fully walk on my own to only being able to take a few steps with a walker and back to being able to fully walk on my own. As fast as my gratitude grew for being able to do something as basic as walking unaided, it began to wane with each independent step. Just around the corner from a life changing diagnosis, I was back to complaining about all the things I’d learned to never take for granted. Us humans tend to forget how good we have it and it can happen in the blink of an eye, at least that’s how it happens to this human.
But, Christine, what does all this have to do with crappy coffee? Nothing, really. It has nothing to do with crappy coffee. Well, ok, it might have a little something to do with crappy coffee. See, I’ve just come back from vacation where I walked A LOT. I walked to the lobby of the hotel many times to get the crappy coffee. I walked every square inch of the Disney parks desperately searching for Starbucks, so I wouldn’t have to drink the crappy coffee. I walked around and took pictures of the crappy coffee so that I could bitch about the crappy coffee on social media. I walked and walked and walked and my Fitbit can attest to that.
In all those steps, all those times I was moaning and complaining about the crappy coffee, I forgot to remember that it’s pretty damn spectacular I take any steps on my own. There was once a day when I couldn’t walk and here I was taking almost 70,000 steps! All the while, the only thoughts in my head were about how bad the coffee was. Thankfully, it only took me a few days to realize that and hopefully I won’t be on my deathbed someday wishing I had savored my unaided steps instead of taking them for granted because life is too short for regret. I have to tell you, though, life is far too long for crappy coffee, so you’ll have to excuse me while I go do unspeakable things to my Keurig. I never want it to think I take it for granted.