One Step at a Time

Madelyn on summit of Ayers Rock, Australia

Madelyn on summit of Ayers Rock, Australia

Changing our behavior is one of the toughest things to do. Change your attitude and you can change your life, too. As my children went off to college I had more time for myself. I joined a Health Club and began running for the first time. Working out gives me more energy and I feel better.  Running helps me as much mentally and emotionally as it does physically. I always feel better after running. I am less tired. I tend to eat healthier when I am in a running routine. Times when I don’t or can’t run I notice the difference. Hiking, biking, skiing, kayaking, swimming, gardening are things I enjoy doing. You are never too old to try something new.

Travel reentered my life at the time my children were in college, my father passed away and I began to take my mother on trips. She had always been tied down to a business and had never traveled.  She had been promised by my grandmother that she would take my mother to Ireland someday. My grandmother had a heart attack while she was at work one day and so the trip never happened. The first trip I planned for her was to visit her cousins and the family homestead in Ireland. The trip the next summer was to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, places my mother wanted to visit.  We took short trips in the fall to nearby states or Canada and in the winter to Florida. The trips went on for many more years and helped to keep my mother active and happy. It was a great bonding for us, too and gave us something to share together. We had some funny experiences, happy times, exasperating times, but all in all she was a lively, bright, fun travel companion.

I love challenges and anytime I can combine sports with the outdoors I’m delighted. I try to keep life in balance, even with many daily responsibilities of running a home and family. One of the sports I enjoy is biking. I joined a bike club for several summers. I met every Saturday and biked the long scenic areas in Maine. On my own, I bike two or three times a week on routes I develop in my neighborhood. I had never biked in my childhood and bought my first bike when I was in my 40’s. After a while I invested in a racing bike and began biking much higher mileages.  Each summer I set a goal. This keeps me going towards a goal I set each season. One year I did Trek across Maine with 60 -80 mile days for three days. Again more recently I trained and did the same Trek.

To vary my physical training of running and biking I swim three mornings a week, year round at a local college indoor pool or an outside pool in warm weather. At the college gym, always the night before I would pack my school bag, lay out my school clothes, and then pack my gym bag. I would wake, put on my bathing suit and layers of clothes in the winter and drive to the gym. Some snowy, stormy mornings I would wonder why I was doing this but as soon as I arrived at the gym and lots of familiar faces happily greeted me I knew I was not doing this alone.  The mornings worked well for me as it was a regular routine that I could count on, I didn’t have meetings or appointments to throw me off schedule. This works for me.  Commit yourself, stick to a routine and do your best.

I feel if you invest time, money and energy you are more likely to complete your goal. I try to stay focused on training and keep my life as simple and balanced as possible. I encourage you to try this, along with trying something new, especially something like exercise which is good for you.