Finding Beauty

Finding Beauty

Today’s going to be one of those days where I launch about 5,001 blogs because I just am not breathing well, so I’m putting off doing what I should be doing.  (Laundry, house cleaning, going swimming).

Prevarication at its best.

I really enjoy my Saturday swim coach, TL, and I’m enjoying getting to know her as the weeks go by.  It’s hard to believe that it was almost a year ago (mid-November) when I went looking for a YMCA in my area.

TL and her Saturday exercise classes have been a major part of why I go back.

  1.  She’s always upbeat and makes exercise fun
  2. She always works in the deep end (which I prefer to the shallows)

Last Saturday, though, I had a wedding and she had a financial planning class, so we both missed it.  Another teacher filled in, and life moved on.  This most recent Saturday, though, we were both back online and enjoyed the session.

Sometimes I get out of class and run to get warm.  Other times, I try and stay a little longer to continue the workout for an additional hour.

It amazes me that I *cannot* run, bike or do other cardio- and lung-specific movements on land without becoming tired, but I can keep on moving for an hour or two when in the water.

I may not be able to leap tall buildings while on land, but in the water I’m fast (for my leg movements), so long as I manage to keep my core (lungs and heart) paced for breathing, and make the movement of my body effortless so that I’m not exhausted.

The Finnish teacher who runs the arthritis exercise classes, Johanna, is in her late 70’s or early 80’s, and wants lots of cardio involvement.  She’s having a hard time understanding why my breathing isn’t aggravated by jogging swimming or other jerky movements, but I have no answers.  Maybe she’s right, and that water shuts off all oxygen entry to and from the body, forcing it up to the lungs and the brain.  Whatever’s going on, I’m just grateful that swimming is still an option as I hate getting out of sync and struggling to breathe while fighting to keep my head above water.  Staying calm and floating is my goal, and is aided by the float belt.  My security blanket, LOL.

But, I tell you all that to tell you this… people who are blessed with physical ability, or even people within two (2) years or so of retirement, need to contemplate what would happen if they couldn’t do what they love to do anymore.


We don’t have to become couch potatoes, so long as we find something to engage our passions and remain involved in life.

While much was forbidden to me as a child, I was also very lucky in that my mother would allow me to try anything.  At least once.

– Horseback riding

– Sledding, tobogganing, skating, skiing (tolerating the cold despite disliking Winter)

– Ballet / Dance / Gymnastics (hated it!)

– Theatre

– Art classes (water, oil, pastels, screen printing, beading, etc., etc, etc.) – Nirvana !

The idea was to accept the fact that you couldn’t always do things you were good at, and so you needed to learn to try and fail, and persevere, in order to determine your interests and have hobbies.

Hobbies keep the brain and body active, even if other parts of your life are falling apart.

And, if you don’t recharge your batteries (even while being a workaholic), by the time you’re out of work, you’re overwhelmed with time on your hands and nothing to fill it.

So, our conversation was filled with people talking about their retirement plans (some are on the cusp of retirement, some are on disability, and some are fully functional in this chit-chat session).  What continues to amaze me is the (arrogance?) of healthy people to never consider a Plan B if their body betrays them.

Seriously, a flexible, robust body is a blessing, but it’s not reasonable to expect it to be that way for your entire life.

So, my question today is this:  If you were suddenly to be retired, and your life wasn’t what you would wish it to be, could you find a way to right yourself, shake off the depressive thinking, and find beauty and joy in the simple moments?

2 thoughts on “Finding Beauty

  1. Yeah. But I’ve always enjoyed more sedentary activities than active. And am introverted which makes that whole process easier. The trick is to not learn to enjoy the simple moments so much that one begins to only seek them and never wants to push the limits and boundaries of what they CAN do. You’ve found a healthy mix of activity and contemplation and that is wonderful. And it helps to look at the bigger picture now & then and if one is feeling down about their situation – remember that anyone can do >insert activity< for a day. Start small and build up to more and more. At least that's my personal plan. Do what I can and push to do more, eventually getting to where I'm too busy to be depressed about being in the situation I find myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent decisions.

    I was amazed at how the conversation ranged among the physically active when asked what they woukd donif they lost their mobility. They couldn’t contemplate their body’s betrayal of their abilities, but once I asked, the question differently: “what if you were in a car accident and had permanent damage?” then you could see the wheels start to turn.

    If I can never move my butt again, I will manage to stay busy. So glad the same is true for you.


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