So many people make New Year's resolutions that are gone within less than a month. I used to do that, and always found the resolutions slipped away. This year, instead of creating resolutions, I am going to relax and enjoy the year I just completed.
You see, MS really does change everything. Even before MS entered my life, I was on the brink of things that became impossible due to MS. As a junior in high school, we won the state championship in cross-country, and I finished in the top 15 or so. But at that meet, even with us winning and me placing well, I didn't feel 100% - I didn't feel like I gave it 100%. That spring I placed second in the 2 mile, qualifying for state. It was really unknown whether I could get in the top 2, given the field of runners. I started in front and led the whole race before fading while my friend raced past me in the final 200. I was ecstatic to get second! Who knew I could do that?! Another friend of mine got sick during the race so I am told that people were either attending to her or celebrating the victory of my other friend who passed me. My coach at the time, Jean Ann, was probably the only one who came up to me after the race. She said, "you know you could have won that race, right?" And that continues to follow me through life. My coach Jo Ann later got ALS and her baptismal journey was ended when she was only 44. And then the following year I was set to run a race under 19 minutes, but after coming within 10 seconds, MS had crept just enough to end my "under 19" dream. The next spring's track season was somewhat mediocre but I was headed to college which was an exciting time. But college running was filled quickly with failure, as I didn't make it through the cross-country or track seasons.
So there has been this "not quite there" state of reaching goals in my life. I have done some things. I finished my masters program; I bicycled up Vail Pass; I swam a mile. But these didn't feel the same. I could finish so much but it wasn't the same athletically as the failed mishaps in running.
But then there was this year. My goal was to do the best I could do in PT and get as good as I could. And what makes this different than the other things is that my MS hasn't gotten worse. In fact, I have grown stronger. It has taken all year, but I have made advances. I can stand straight, finally. I am walking 1.9mph on a special treadmill at PT, which is faster than I have walked since the downward progression of my MS. On the last session of PT this week, I did the 1.9mph and made it. Through my head while walking are thoughts of "you have to fight through this," someone has got to win, and "you could have won that race." These thoughts allow me to break the walking into small pieces. And I made it.
But there was one last thing. We have a treadmill at home and I have been increasing the time I have spent on that. I had walked for 15 minutes straight there twice, and I wanted to finish with a third time on New Year's Eve. This made me nervous because it could become one of those things I just couldn't make. So I broke it up, minute by minute. Right at 15 minutes I stopped the treadmill. Done. I finished. You never know how far your body will go. But this cycles back to all the things that have haunted me and to which I think I did not finish.
Finish it. This time I did, with Jean Ann urging me ("you could have run that race") almost every time.
But those Christmas card left... I have done some but have run out of stamps. That project just may not get done tonight.
Finish it. The walking part. and move onward!
And Happy New Year, all.