Pardon My Dust

Have you ever seen the sign, “Renovation in progress, please pardon our dust”? In my last post, Being Healthy and Happy, I talked about the strategies my husband and I were beginning to use to improve our health. The personal renovations have begun, and I am happy to say that the recipes I’ve found have been very tasty and satisfying. As a bonus, I am discovering new cooking and baking ideas, including a great recipe for a decadent Chocolate Cake which was truly delectable and worthy of company!

The “dusty” part is that it will take longer for us to know how these changes will impact our weight and other health indicators. Just as with any renovation project, it will require some patience and what my husband calls “engineered changes.” That leads me to today’s musings!

As I rather blithely said in my last post, we need to develop a new relationship to food. From current (and past) experience I know this is true. However, I’m just beginning to understand the true depth of that process. It is as if something has suddenly shifted, and I need to inspect the foundation, before construction is able to continue.

Another comment I made was that I believed in the adage, “everything in moderation.” What I have discovered, in this past week, is that my previous definition of “moderation” is very different from what my body (and dietary guidelines) are demonstrating. Those of you who have ever measured one cup of pasta or one serving of grapes, who have investigated how much sodium and carbohydrates are in the food we eat, or who have checked out a “nutrition statement” at a favorite restaurant, know exactly what I mean.

Though it has been evident for years, just this week my heart began to accept the fact that my body is changing. For any “youngsters” (those under 60), who might be reading this post, you may want to stop reading right here, the content ahead can be pretty scary. For those who have surpassed me in years, you are probably way ahead of me, and will be shocked it took this long for me to discover what you have long known. Either way, to those who are brave (or foolish) enough to continue, full speed ahead!

The conundrum is that, in my mind, I am still in my twenties or thirties, curious, inquisitive, quietly rebellious, studious, and eager to charge ahead into any subject that interests me. I am always willing to bite off more than I can chew, both figuratively and literally. Yet, my physical abilities, and the choices I have made (and continue to make), create various limits.

For example, I have never had very good hand-eye coordination. I was always the last kid chosen for any sport in gym class. If I truly loved athletics and dedicated myself to long hours of practice and endless drills, I may have developed into a mediocre player at best. Dedication and hard work are important, but there is something to be said for innate physical abilities.

Similarly, because I am in the third stage of life, I am selective with my time. If I was willing to invest several hours each day training, even with arthritis in my knees and hips, I might eventually be able to run a marathon. Though I truly admire the people who overcome gigantic obstacles to complete those competitions, I recognize that their dreams are not mine. I choose to spend my time playing with my grandchildren, taking long walks with my “sweetie,” working in the garden, taking in an exciting movie, and helping others wherever I am needed.

As my mother once said (most likely repeating the words of some other sage), “Today I am older than I ever was, but I am also younger than I will ever be again.” I may have certain limitations, but I appreciate the skills and health that I have. I am no longer a teenager, a breast-feeding mom, or a working woman raising a family and going to college. I am a woman who has been blessed to reach retirement age. I have a loving family, a place to call “home,” and purpose in my life.

So what if the construction site has its boundaries, there are permits that need to be followed, the equipment sometimes goes on the fritz, and the architect keeps making adjustments to the plans? I am certain the project will be completed in its appointed time. In the meantime, please “pardon my dust!”


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