I have finally ventured back outside this past week, in a last-ditch effort to NOT gain more than ten pounds as a result of chemo. I’ve been lucky enough to have company on all of these 5-ish km walks, and I must say great chats can be had on a warm summer’s day tour around a lake or along a river.
One of the interesting conversations I had with a friend who is currently being treated for breast cancer as well stemmed from a statement I made about running.
“I used to love trail running.”
I had to stop myself, and rewind, and examine this new turn of phrase. How often these days do I talk about the things I did pre-Cancer in the past tense? What is the significance of speaking about my likes, my activities, in the past tense as though that is where they now reside?
It calls to mind a little bit how we tend to talk about exes (“He was a really good cook”) – like we’re referring to someone who has died, or the ex is no longer able to throw down in the kitchen. The ex isn’t dead; he’s just no longer with us, if you know what I mean. And, he can very likely still put together a beautiful meal. Just not for me. This makes sense to me. There are some things that should live only in the past.
But trail running? Cooking? These things I am NOT abandoning. They are not to be put in a box and shoved under a bed. They are not being put out at the curb and abandoned.
I thought about that on today’s promenade with another friend, where we walked a trail I
used to run like to run, and at one point on a long lovely sun-speckled muddy downhill, I started to run. My friend joined in and laughed, saying ‘oh okay we’re running – that just happened’ and we ran. For about two minutes. Because it’s hard right now. Because I DO like to trail run. My body WANTS to run on those trails and dance around roots and rocks and think fast and duck branches and get soakers and be splattered with mud.
Present tense. My life has been interrupted by this little trip. Not stopped, dammit.