Monday, Sep 26, 2016

BirthdayToday is my birthday. 54 years old…wow! My wife made me one of her amazing life as art pics for my birthday card. Better than any Hallmark card could ever be. I’m grateful to be alive, active, and healthy. I hope I can keep it going for another 54 years.

Seriously. Maybe 3D printers will be good enough in the coming years to replace my parts as they wear out, so I can keep playing, exploring, and moving about this planet.

Speaking of moving about, I went running this morning with my sons, Chase and Easton. They have been running three miles every other day for a while now. Since the earthquake in April, I have stopped running. Today I decided as a birthday present to myself, I will get exercising again.

I headed out with them to run on the trail that follows the Yanuncay river from Las Americas down to Tres Puentes. Now, I’m not stupid or unrealistic. Because of the altitude in Cuenca, I can get winded carrying a propane tank up three flights of stairs into our apartment. There are fewer air molecules for me to suck into my chest.

So my plan was to run behind my sons and when I needed to walk, do just that. I expected they would make it to Tres Puentes before me, and when they passed me on the way back up the trail I would turn and follow them. It went exactly as planned. I was at the park just before Tres Puentes when they were heading back. I turned and followed them…for about a block.

I was getting beat up pretty bad. My chest was heaving for air, my throat was filled with phlegm, my hamstring and knee were both hurting. I was thinking, “shit, if I don’t stop and let my body recover a minute I may not see 55.” So I started walking. When I could breathe normal, I started running again.

I’m glad I did because as I rounded the corner of the trail, there sat Chase and Easton at the top of the stairs at Loja. I thought they would have been back in our apartment by now, but they waited for me. Honestly, I didn’t expect it and didn’t need them to do that, but it really touched me.

They congratulated me and encouraged me. We only had a short distance to the house from here, so I followed them the last leg of the trail…chest burning, ass aching, knee throbbing and I made it home. Welcome to 54. Just kidding.

Although sore, I feel good. My body just needs to adjust and I’ll be back in shape in no time. Realistically it does take more time for me to adjust than it used to, but I know my body finds it way. I’m looking forward to running with my sons. Welcome to 54!

It’s funny how I can build something up in my mind, making it appear so terrible that I just want to avoid it, when in reality it is no big deal. I know this, and still fall into the trap. It’s important to break things down into smaller pieces and just focus on the “next step”. Pretty soon it’s done.

During the afternoon we all went into El Centro, had lunch and walked around the city for a bit. It actually was hot. Birthday present for me! We were looking for strawberries from the indigenous women who push their wheelbarrows around town, filled with the biggest and best strawberries. We only came across one woman today, and thankfully she still had strawberries.

I was able to catch up with family and friends by phone this afternoon. I love how technology makes the world more manageable. I was wished birthday blessings from many people today and am grateful I have the wonderful family and friends I do in my life to help me celebrate.

Heidi made me a great birthday dinner. We had spaghetti, made with italian sausage we picked up while in El Centro. It was delicious. And you know why we were looking for strawberries earlier? Heidi made me her famous strawberry birthday cake, and earlier Chase had picked up a quart of coco helado (coconut ice cream) from the new ice cream place by us. It was a perfect combination!

I love being alive, being 54, and being with my family. I have so many good things in my life, so many things to be grateful for. It is going to be a great year!