Running in Place
Last month I did a piece on aging in place—the concept of building homes designed to evolve with us as our needs change with age. I was nominated for a prestigious award for both the reporting and writing. Not really. But I did accomplish something. I elicited a critical response. I moved the needle enough to receive a letter to the editor, (me). I don’t take offense at such letters. I consider them to be a very encouraging sign that someone reads what I write. My critic this time was a friend and client, Mary Lloyd. The best part of receiving a critique from Mary on this particular topic is that Mary is highly credible on it. Mary is a speaker and consultant and author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love. For more, see her website. Mary points out that when we let go of the stuff in our lives that gives us exercise without us noticing–stairs, yards, etc., we invite that decline, when we might be able to avoid it entirely. “Please,” she writes, “let’s have stairs to somewhere…” She believes in living as actively as you can right up until you can’t do that stuff anymore. “Quitting early is just making us fat and unhappy…. this nonsense about ‘getting ready’ is just one more way to deny older people the dynamic lives they could be continuing to live. My dad died three days before his 85th birthday. He’d had heart disease since age 40. He lived in a two story house and walked everywhere in the small town where he lived. The only aging-related modification we made over the years was to put a handrail up the stairs to the second floor since he needed to go up there to take his shower every night. (His bedroom was on the main floor.) Activity was part of what gave him a vibrant life until he died.”
Thank you for writing Mary. More importantly, thank you for reading. I really hope that your good points inspire someone to write in with a strongly worded rebuttal, not because I want your words contradicted, but only because it would be an excellent sign of another reader. Also, I understand controversy is very engaging.
Perhaps you have heard of Tacoma Runners. It is a social running group that does a 3-mile run every Thursday night from a different location, usually bars and restaurants. That group grew from 7 people to over 2000 today. I have heard it described as a drinking club with a running problem. Derek Young, the mad genius behind this, (as well as the founder of Exit133, a great Tacoma blog) will soon be expanding on Tacoma Runners, with a free, timed 5K run every Saturday at Point Defiance. The run will offer a low pressure, consistent way for participants to be motivated to stay fit year-round and to track their progress with a timed event in between their regularly scheduled organized races. Given the rapid growth of the Tacoma Runners into the largest running club in the region based on Thursday runs alone, Derek expects the group to grow tremendously once word of the family-friendly free Saturday run spreads. It might be the only free weekly 5k in the country. Participation will be tracked via a custom built website, software application, and timers so that runners can view results over time. Derek is seeking a small group of sponsors at this time to help cover the costs. Write me if you would like more info.
Please be safe this holiday season!